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On Mon, 27 Jul 1998 GSP1954@aol.com wrote:

> Sinosauropteryx -
> In the Natl Geo photo, there appears to be an small array of feathers at the
> tip of the tail of the large Sinosauropteryx. However, the slab was - as true
> of all of these specimens - badly shattered, and the feathers lie on a
> separate slab. At first glance there seems to be a couple of distal vertebrae
> on the feathered slab. However, examination under magnification with a
> flashlight revealed that no bone is present, the vertebrae are illusions
> created by breakage of the sediment. The last few tail vertebrae are missing
> because they were lost along with the slab that really belongs there. Nor do
> the feathers have any connection with the vertebrae (unlike the tail feathers
> of Protarchaeopteryx and Caudipteryx). They are just some loose feathers on a
> slab that the farmer decided looked good at the end of the tail.

Blast! He tells us this *right after* I sell an illustration of it with a
small fan at the tip! I guess I can take comfort in the fact that if the
end of the tail is missing, a fan is not necessarily ruled out for adult
male _Sinosauropteryx_...

> Protarchaeopteryx - A couple of weeks ago Andre Elzanowski and I agreed that
> this is, as originally described, an 
> Archaeopterygiforme rather than a dinosaur.


Okay, assuming you're using the Linnaean system and not proposing that
archaeopterygiformes are not dinosaurs in the cladistic sense (in which
case I'd say that someone else had figured out your password and was
posting from your account), you've either changed your view (as presented
in Predatory Dinosaurs of the World) that archaeopterygians are not
particularly closely related to ornithothoracean birds, or excluded such
creatures as dromaeosaurs, oviraptorosaurs, troodontids, avimimids, and
ornithomimosaurs from Dinosauria. Which?

--T. Mike Keesey                                   <tkeese1@gl.umbc.edu>
DINOSAUR WEB PAGES -- http://www.gl.umbc.edu/~tkeese1/dinosaur/index.htm