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RE: Important feathered dinosaurs

> From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu]On Behalf Of
> Norton, Patrick
> >I'd like to invite you all to take off your cautious
> hats and expound a bit on what you consider the two
> most important feathered dinosaur finds to be for
> science, and why.<
> I can't speak as a scientist, but as a lay person, _Archaeopteryx
> lithographica_ would be number one on my list, specifically the Berlin
> specimen.


I'll second this recommendation for 1rst!

>I think number 2 will most likely be found among the
> feathered theropods coming out of Northeastern China, although for me
> it's too early for any one of the recent finds to jump out as more
> significant than the others. Perhaps second place should go to the
> "Liaoning feathered theropods", at least for the time being.

I'd actually say that _Sinosauropteryx_ is by far the most important of all
of these.  _Sinornithosaurus_ and _Beipiaosaurus_ are significant (in
documenting feathers in forms which are clearly members of previously known
taxa); _Caudipteryx_ is significant in the particularly well-developed
nature of the feathers; and _Protarchaeopteryx_ as not-to significant, in
being a rather crappy specimen of no well-constrained systematic status.
_Sinosauropteryx_, however, documents the presence of these elements in a
VERY primitive coelurosaur, thus moving the origin of said structures much
lower on the family tree of the theropods.

                Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                Vertebrate Paleontologist
Department of Geology           Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland          College Park Scholars
                College Park, MD  20742
Phone:  301-405-4084    Email:  tholtz@geol.umd.edu
Fax (Geol):  301-314-9661       Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-314-7843