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WHAT CAUDIPTERYX SAYS
I am truly intrigued by the news from Ostrom Symposium participants
that _Caudipteryx_ is grouping with oviraptorosaurs. This is
obviously not a truly novel idea to those of us on the list, and it's
nice to see it supported. Were any characters mentioned that favoured
this placement, or were you only subjected to a brief glimpse of a
Besides the lower jaw (which, as Ji et al. noted, is
oviraptorosaur-like), the femur and ischium of _Caudipteryx_ look
oviraptorosaurian. The femur appears to have a robust, finger-shaped
anterior trochanter like that of oviraptorosaurs (_Microvenator_
has a very weird, unusually prominent ant. troch.) while the fourth
trochanter is apparently absent - something also seen in
_Microvenator_ (Ostrom 1970, Makovicky and Sues 1998) - but a feature
subject to lots of individual variation, as John Hutchinson has
pointed out here before. _Caudipteryx_' distal, triangular and
prominent ischial obturator process is reminiscent of that in
_Chirostenotes_. The ilium looks oviraptorosaurian too.
(Incidentally, I suppose there's no harm in mentioning it: I have
been working on MIWG 5137, a little Wealden femur that is rather
reminiscent of the femur of _M. celer_.)
Something worth pointing out is that, *if* _Caudipteryx_ is an
oviraptorosaur, it might tell us some important things about the
group that were not previously knowable. First off, the things are
feathered, and we now know the distribution of at least some of their
feathers - I'm thinking specifically big arm feathers for the
brooding oviraptors here. Secondly, as _Caudipteryx_ is small (as is
_Microvenator_, but then the type specimen is a juvenile),
oviraptorosaurs may have their roots in small ancestors. Third,
_Caudipteryx_ has a belly full of gastroliths and certainly does
not look predatory.. therefore it was probably an herbivore. Hey, an
herbivorous oviraptorosaur! Does that sound familiar?
Fire at will.
P.S. UK Dinosaur Convention this Sunday (28th) at Conway Hall, Red
Lion Square, London. Expect a blood bath as Rey, Naish and Howgate
battle it out over _Protarchaeopteryx_ and its pals.. or not.
Actually I'm talking about marine tetrapods (and one thing I will be
figuring, as always, is a slide of Alvin pierced by a _Xiphias_).