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MORE CONFUCIUSORNIS CONFUSION



Regarding the life appearance of _Confuciusornis_, Greg Paul wrote..

> A problem with Martin's restoration, and P & C's revised version, 
> is that the legs are too long. As can be seen in
> the accompanying photo, the hindlegs were quite short, with the 
> femur some 15% shorter than the humerus. The smallness of the 
> hindlimbs, plus the large reversed hallux, favor the bird being 
> arboreal rather than a ground runner. 

I recently saw loads of _Confuciusornis_ photos that Paul Davis 
bought back from China. Some of the specimens are _spectacular_: 
entire skeletons preserved fully articulated: extremely photogenic. 
I think the arms are longer than the legs in this bird. Which brings 
me onto something I may have mentioned before.. was _Confuciusornis_ 
flightless? 

In a recent and not particularly good book on Mesozoic life written 
for children, David Unwin writes that _Confuciusornis_ had 
proportionally small wings and may therefore have had reduced flight 
capabilities. I have not encountered this suggestion in any of the 
technical literature that mentions or describes _Confuciusornis_. 
Anyone heard anything similar?

I've also seen photos from China of another Liaoning Province bird 
that has a very very unusual tail. 

Hooray for HARRIS, J.D. 1998: A Reanalysis of _Acrocanthosaurus 
atokensis_, its phylogenetic status, and paleobiogeographic 
implications, based on a new specimen from Texas. _New Mexico Museum 
of Natural History and Science_ 13: 1-75.

That's one hell of a data matrix Jerry! And one hell of a paper. I'm 
going to invite all European theropod workers round my flat so 
they can have their first ever look at it:)

"...perhaps we are ornithological dinosaurs and I freely admit that 
such devices may produce results we dinosaurs have failed to get"

DARREN NAISH
darren.naish@port.ac.uk