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> From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]On Behalf Of
> So what _is_ Caudipteryx, anyway? Is it a feathered theropod like
Well, it clearly is a feathered theropod, but it isn't a primitive feathered
theropod like _Sinosauropteryx_!
> Is it a primitve ovriaptor? Is it another flightless
> bird? I've heard a lot of different interpretations.
Those who place it as primitive flightless bird happen to be the same folks
who argue against the dinosaurian origin of birds. Their argument runs
(basically): it clearly has feathers, so it must be a bird; it is clearly
more primitive than all other birds (except maybe _Archaeopteryx_);
therefore it is a basal flightless bird.
On the other hand, several teams (me, Sereno, the AMNH, Xu et al.) have
independantly analysed the fossils of _Caudipteryx_ in the larger context of
coelurosaurs (including basal birds). In these studies, it does not come
out as a basal bird: it is instead a non-avian maniraptoran and in at least
some of the trees a primitive member of the oviraptorosaur lineage.
Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Department of Geology Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland College Park Scholars
College Park, MD 20742
Phone: 301-405-4084 Email: email@example.com
Fax (Geol): 301-314-9661 Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-405-0796