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Re: Giant flightless birds

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.>

  But "Elmisauridae" doesn't exist. Or at least it did
until Sues synonymized the Elmisauridae and
Caenagnathidae in 1997. Essentially, "elmisaurids" are
oviraptorosaurs, maniraptorans at least by some recent
studies (Barsbold's (various dates), Currie's (various
dates), Russell and Dong's, Sues'). Long arms appear
to be directly correlated to the long hands and swivel
wrists, and as such, Gauthier (1986) used them as
synapomorphies of Maniraptora, and Holtz (1996) used
them synapomorphies of Maniraptoriformes, which
includes ornithomimosaurs, dromaeosaurs,
oviraptorosaurs, and yes, tyrannosaurs.


  Barsbold R. 1983. Khishchnyye dinosavry mela
Mongolii. [Carnivorous dinosaurs from the Cretaceous
of Mongolia.]. Trudy--Sovmestnaya Rossiysko-
Mongol'skaya Paleontologicheskaya Ekspeditsiya 19:
1-120. [in Russian, w/ English summary].

  Barsbold R. 1997. Oviraptorosauria. p. 505-509. (in
Currie, P.J. and Padian, K. (eds.). Encyclopedia of
Dinosaurs. [Academic Press]).

  Currie, P.J.; Godfrey, S.J.; and Nesov, L.A. 1994.
New caenagnathid (Dinosauria: Theropoda) specimens
from the Upper Cretaceous of North America and Asia.
Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 30: 2255-2272.
[Issue printed with "1993" as the date, but published
in 1994.]

  Gauthier, J.A. 1986. Saurischian monophyly and the
origin of birds. p. 1-55. (in Padian, K. (ed.) The
Origin of Birds and the Evolution of Flight.
[California Academy of Sciences (San Fransisco)]).

  Holtz, T.R., Jr. 1996. Phylogenetic taxonomy of the
Coelurosauria (Dinosauria: Theropoda). Journal of
Paleontology 70 (3): 536-538.

  Russell, D.A. and Dong Z.-M. 1993a. The affinities
of a new theropod from the Alxa Desert, Inner
Mongolia, People's Republic of China. Canadian Journal
of Earth Sciences 30: 2107-2127.

- Greek proverb: "Knowledge is Inherent;
  Stupidity is Learned." -

Jaime A. Headden

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