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Wading _Caudipteryx_?

On Mon, 29 Jun 1998 T. Mike Keesey wrote:

>Whenever anyone sees a long-legged theropod, it seems the first thing they
>think is "sprinter". However, long legs have evolved several times among
>Theropoda (Neornithes, at least) for a very different purpose -- striding
>through water and mud.

Although the legs of Caudipteryx appear to be long, the proportions of
their main elements are not at all like those of modern wading birds, which
have a very small femur and long tibiotarsus and tarsometatarsus.
Caudipteryx is much more similar to Procompsognathus, Compsognathus, and
some ornithomimids in its proportions.  This doesn't preclude wading, but
might lend support to a running interpretation.  Proportions in
Protarchaeopteryx are quite similar to the Berlin Archaeopteryx.

Steve Gatesy

Stephen M. Gatesy
Dept. of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Box G-B209
Brown University
Providence, RI 02912
401-863-7544 (fax)