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Re: Giant flightless birds

On Tue, 11 May 1999, Larry Febo wrote:

> Also, ...with a bit of reading in
> "The Dinosauria" I found that Elmisauridae (which don`t have opposable
> digits) also have long arms. So I guess my arguement for a connection
> between usefullness of the manus for grasping and retention of long arms has
> no basis in fact. It seems that arm length is a totally random condition in
> theropods.

I don't think so -- theropods with short arms tend to have large, robust
heads with big teeth -- neoceratosaurs, "megalosaurs", and tyrannosauroids
(spinosaurs are the exception, in terms of robustness).  Theropods with
really long arms tend to have smaller teeth (or no teeth), longer and
slimmer necks, and smaller skulls -- oviraptorosaurs (including
Caenagnathidae, which Elmisauridae is a junior synonym of), troodontids,
ornithomimosaurs, dromaeosaurs (they do have large heads, but not
exceptionally large teeth), and therizinosaurs. So there seems to be, at
least to me, a general pattern -- emphasis on either the head or the
forelimbs, seldom both (carnosaurs?) or neither (avimimids?).
> > Maniraptors *are* tetanurans. Perhaps you mean "finding a non-maniraptoran
> > tetanuran flier"?
> Yeah, I really ought to get these names straight.

Spend some time at http://dinosaur.umbc.edu/clades.htm

> Guess I meant Maniraptors vs Tyrannosaurids in this case. I was shooting
> for something that might show (if it is ever found) that each theropod
> group had its own bird ancestor.  (any "non-maniraptoran" flier would do
> 8^)! 

The search continues ...

Hey, have any BCF'ers ever advocated _Protoavis_ as a flying
"herrerasaur"? Is anyone looking further at this creature[s]?

--T. Mike Keesey                                    <tkeese1@gl.umbc.edu>
WORLDS                                  <http://www.gl.umbc.edu/~tkeese1>
THE DINOSAURICON                               <http://dinosaur.umbc.edu>