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Carpometacarpus



As noted several times on the list in the last few days, the latest SVP is a
real treasure. This is true even for an amateur like me. One big benefit for
me (as someone interested in the evolution of the carpometacarpus) is that
it provided me with another description of the condition of the metacarpals
in a Mesozoic member of Aves. The article by Ji Qiang, et al, on the late
Jurassic/early Cretaceous Confuciusornithid bird _Changchengornis_ described
metacarpals II and III of this bird as "unfused distally".

A few questions--probably way off point, but I hope not.  Is it fair or not
to infer from Qiang's statement that metacarpals II and III of
_Changchengornis_ were fused proximally? And at what point within the
Metornithes does the fossil record begin to show fusion of the wrist and/or
hand elements?  And since _Mononykus_ (a member of the Alvarezsauridae) has
a carpometacarpus (at least it looks like one to me), is it reasonable to
consider the carpometacarpus as a basal character for the Metornithes? If
not, what are the members of Aves outside Metornithes that show fusion of
bones in the wrist or hand?

As you can probably tell, I need all the help I can get in this area, and
any advice is appreciated. And if anyone knows of a published work that
describes the osteology of the arm and/or hand of a Mesozoic member of the
Avialae, I would be very interested in an off-list message containing the
reference(s).

Thanks.

PTNorton@msn.com
www.geocities.com/capecanaveral/galaxy/1962/