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_Protoavis_ (was RE: Important feathered dinosaurs)

> From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu]On Behalf Of
> Larry Febo
> >Except that it doesn't according to most authorities, and there are no
> >"quill nodes" (just a ridge that might possibly have provided attachment
> >for something, maybe).
> OK.  Perhaps the nodes are questionable. What about the triosseal canal?
> ...the large keeled sternum??
> It seems that the majority don`t see it as being avian, but
> then,...what is
> it? I haven`t heard any alternate proposals put forward as to
> what it could
> possibly be?

The majority opinion is not "what is it?", but "what are they?"; or, as some
have said, "it seems to be a fauna, not a taxon".

I do not recall anyone setting down in print (in the technical literature)
an element-by-element, taxon-by-taxon description of the _Protoavis_
material, but opinions voiced by various authors seem to converge on several
The braincase is probably theropodan;
The manus is probably rauisuchian (and Sereno 1997 suggests it is a foot,
not a hand);
Some of the limb elements are some non-archosaurian diapsid (can't recall
what was the suggestion: prolacertiform, maybe?).

The most-missed of all Ostrom Symposium talks (i.e., one which was supposed
to be given, but wasn't) was Larry Witmer's analysis of _Protoavis_.  I am
still looking forward to what he has to say about it.

                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