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WHAT IS ELOPTERYX?



On the mysterious _Elopteryx nopscai_, John Hutchinson wrote..

> "Elopteryx" is commented on by Csiki and Grigorescu in Oryctos 1, 
> who regard it as a non-diagnostic maniraptoran.

I've played with all of the 'Elopteryx' material and my impression is 
that the femora (BMNH A1235 and A1234) are avian; however, I must 
confess I've seen hardly any dromaeosaur stuff. There is 
certainly a cranial intermuscular line in A1235 which looks just like 
that of birds (its angle is about the same as that seen in 
ratites)... but does the structure look the same in non-birds like 
dromaeosaurs?

I have good notes and diagrams on the 'Elopteryx' femora and I do not 
recall a structure that I interpreted as a posterior trochanter. Has 
anyone identified such in these femora? The femora certainly are
quite strange: in A1234 the crista trochanteris and greater 
trochanter form an odd square shape when the bone is viewed 
laterally, and there is then a vaguely triangular hollow on the 
laterocaudal part of this 'lateral square' which has a raised 
ridge along its distal margin (this hollow and distal ridge are seen 
in both specimens). This ridge travels round to the caudal surface. 
Also, the entire bone surface in both femora (and in some of the 
tibiotarsi referred to _E. nopscai_) has a peculiar 'vermiculate' 
texture with hundreds of short little raised ridges that run 
diagonally. Weird.

Both femora are missing their distal ends, but would have been about 
15 cm long when complete. Thus their owner was not that small.

DARREN NAISH 
PALAEOBIOLOGY RESEARCH GROUP
School of Earth, Environmental & Physical Sciences
UNIVERSITY OF PORTSMOUTH
Burnaby Building
Burnaby Road                           email: darren.naish@port.ac.uk
Portsmouth UK                          tel: 01703 446718
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http://www.naish-zoology.com]