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The Mystery Cat etc.



Went to mini conf "Cretaceous Biodiversity", and trip to Isle of Wight fossiliferous areas near chines (a chine is a flooded valley running typically through shaley cliffs to the sea, it seems).  I still maintain I. of W. is on the Sth coast of England, off Hampshire, but that's just my opinion  :-).
 
Conf:  Due to Darren's thoughtless announcement of the conf only on the day that it started, I missed all the best bits.  (Next time, how about a couple of weeks in advance eh?  You did see me on Mon & Tue of this week and never thought to mention it !!??  And the announced days were wrong too.)  However, though I missed Paul Davis's talk on the Chinese birds, I did discover he thinks ALL the Yixian and Jiufuotang birds are enants, including _Chaoyangia_!  This is based on the analysis of a large number of characters.  But it is now the only enant with uncinated ribs.  I cannot approve.
 
David Unwin confirmed that Cretaceous pterosaurs were big and J ones were small, and suggested that some small K ones might be young.  (To me, no doubt about it, the role of small flier was invaded by birds in the K, and they had not mastered full flight much prior to Archaeopteryx - though they were probably doing something aerial for a long time, but in a small way.  Their absence from pterosaur bearing deposits is very suspicious . . . though there is still just a tiny possibility that they might have escaped notice somehow.)
 
Darren describes _Baryonyx_ as a facultative (ie optional) quadruped.
 
 
"The"  "New"  theropod from the I.o.W:
About 60% - 70% has been found.
It's jumbled, along with . . . hypsolophodontid(?)
It is about Deinonychus size (3m) but is not any kind of dromeosaur.  (Its thumb is perhaps on the slender side of average though, and has a hookish claw.  [. . . It's known to Scotland Yard and is the terror of the law?])
It is not any kind of anything else yet known either (certainly not a cat contra papers), which is interesting in itself.
It has unusual aspects (though this may simply be a restatement of the above).
That's all folks till the official publication (next millnm).
Describer yet to be confirmed.
 
In the pub, it appeared that most people (not including any of the speakers it goes without saying) had a pronounced revulsion for cladistics, though they would not necessarily want this to get out.  "The hatred that dare not speak its name". 
 
It appears that no-one in the world is working on early K beetles.
 
 
There will be a new BBC Horizon screened in October about John Ostrom and his revolutionary theory that dinos and birds may be related.  (Grrrr!  I'm paying for this, you know!  Do you know, the makers went over to USA to talk to the "Experts" and not one of them even mentioned K-BCF.  In case you weren't sure, that's a shameless dereliction of duty and a downright disgrace.)  There will also be a series of half a dozen 30min computer generated films about dinos in a couple of years.  Can't say for sure whether this will include any truths more recent than 1973, but I'm working on it.
 
 
JJ
 
"Ohhhh . . . yes, since wayback.  Just to give you an idea, I was on the list when Dinogeorge Digest #1 appeared!"