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Re: Tails from Liaoning

Mike Keesey wrote something (which gleefully I snipped off) and then
wrote this:

<Anyway, while sketching the fossils there (one _Protarchaeopteryx_,
two _Caudipteryx_, two _Sinosauropteryx_, and two _Confuciusornis_), I
noticed that _Protarchaeopteryx_ seems to have a tail fan very similar
to that of _Caudipteryx_. Are my eyes fooling me here, or is this some
kind of convergent(?) structure? There also appears to be a miniature
version of this on the adult _Sinosauropteryx_ (the one that's
supposed to have a mammal jaw in its gut, although my untrained eyes
could not find it).>

  I know Ji et al. (1998) syas the caudal feathers are at the end of
the tail, but I also noticed something from the tail fan, and that's
than the caudals that the feathers seem to be attached to are actually
set on well-developed and large caudals (not what you would expect at
the end of a tail, even one with a pygostyle, which is pretty much not
expected in this animal) so as to say that these feathers are on the
sides of the middle or near-middle section, that they may in fact form
a more Archie-like tail spread, rather than Caudi-like fan.

  Supporting this is that the rectrices (the tail feathers) are all of
even or near-even length, varying only in a few millimeters, the
left-most feathers shorter by a centimeter or two than the right-most,
what would seem the caudal-most, feathers.

  In my opinion, the "fan" of *Protarchaeopteryx* was somewhere
between the form of Archie and Caudi.

  I'm wondering if Greg is going to pop a spread on *Deinonychus'* (or
*Velociraptor's*) tail?

  Jaime A. Headden
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