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re:Biggest predators



Raymond Thaddeus C. Ancog wrote:
>Isn't it that T is a coelurosaur, while G and C are either abelisaurs or
>close relatives?
>

While tyrannosaurids are coelurosaurs, the abelisaur affinity of
_Giganotosaurus_ and _Caracharodontosaurus_ has not been the result of any
published phylogenetic analysis.  There *ARE* abudant potential cranial
synapomorphies between _Gig._ and _Carch._ and _Carnotaurus_ and
_Abelisaurus_ (and especially beteween _Carch._ and _Abel._).  However,
additional evidence better supports a carnosaurian position for _Gig._ and
_Carch._.  Stay tuned for further info: more on _Carch._, _Gig._, and their
relatives to come up in a couple of different papers in 1999.

And, towards that...:
Nick Pharris wrote:
>
>Phil Currie thinks G and C are abelisaurs, but I wholeheartedly disagree.

Stay tuned...

At 05:31 PM 3/13/99 -0500, Patrick Norton wrote:
>>Deinocheirus is possibly a gigantic ornithomimid, which are considered
>carnivores of small animals, or perhaps egg-eaters.<
>
>Take another look at those arms and and hands. I find it very hard to
>believe they merely collected small animals and eggs.

Yes, please take another look at the arms and hands, and compare them to
those taxa (dromaeosaurids, allosaurids, etc.) where we can be very
confident that the forelimb was used in predation.

_Deinocheirus_ is not much like these at all.  It's claws have a very low
angle of curvature, they are VERY broad in cross-section, they do not show
the typical theropod (indeed, basal dinosaurian) deflection of manual digit
I.  Instead, they have the same  metacarpal proportions and shapes as
ornithomimosaurs.

Whatever _Deinocheirus_ was doing, it was doing it much more like an
ornithomimosaur than like allosaurs or dromaeosaurs.  Feeding on "small"
animals (relatively speaking: a protoceratopsian would be a small animal to
_Deinocheirus_) or on plants (hook-and-clamping branches) fit the forelimbs
much better than a super-dromaeosaur model.

Raymond Thaddeus C. Ancog wrote (of "_Bruhathkayosaurus_"):
>Wait a minute! Titanosaurs - sauropods. How could a sauropod be mistaken
>for a theropod? (How complete is the skeleton of "Bruhathkayosaurus"
>anyway? And what's the etymology?

Not to put too fine a point on it, one of the single least useful dinosaur
publications of all times is the description of _Bruhathkayosaurus_.  The
specimen is poorly illustrated, the line drawing is less than useful, and no
real characters are shown to judge one way or another (i.e., to see if the
long bones are really bones and not petrified wood!).  An ilium, tibia,
femur, and caudal verts are listed in the description.  The name
"bruhatkaya" is Sanskrit for "huge body".


Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Vertebrate Paleontologist     Webpage: http://www.geol.umd.edu
Dept. of Geology              Email:tholtz@geol.umd.edu
University of Maryland        Phone:301-405-4084
College Park, MD  20742       Fax:  301-314-9661