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The Humor in Paleontology



  I guess the last post there on dinobirds was a
little ... pretentious. I make no assumptions,
personally, about the relationships of birds when it
comes to dinosaurs, or at least I try not to. Points
proven in the favor of Martin and Feduccia are that we
do not _know_ the relationships of dinos and birds
qualitatively, and should not therefore assume we do.
This is why I have, in the past, stepped back and
refused to side with any one camp on any issue regard
dino/birds.

  The post was an extremist approach, but I just want
to clarify the other part of the post, the April
Fool's part.

  Aside from breaking one of the list (and scientific)
taboos of describing unnamed taxa onlist and off
paper, the following taxa do not exist:

  Unenlagiidae (I can find support for it, actually,
in a few pelvic and pectoral features of known taxa,
but this wasn't my idea originally -- it's somewhere
out on the list [incidentally, has anyone out there a
good photo of the tibia in rostral aspect? I am
particularly interested in both the tarsal and
fibular-crest regions of the tibia]);

  Ozraptorinae [of Dromaeosauridae] (and Molnar and
Long (1999; pers. comm., 1999) pointed out the tibia
is really too fragmentary to suggest familial
distinction, it really does seem to be dromaeosaurid
to me, so...);

  Dromaeosauroidea (and I'm sure this is waiting in
the wings out there, somewhere, and is the likeliest
next dromie clade [Achillo + Veloci?]);

  *Toucanopteryx gautheri* means "Gauthier's toucan
[toucanus, Lat.] wing" and was taken off of Toucan
Sam, of Froot Loops fame.

  *Magnornis fluvus* means "yellow big bird;" no need
to explain.

  *Titibismo avis* means "tweety bird" [titibismo,
Grk., "tweet"], and suggests the trend in Sereno et
al. names for Greek derivatives.

  *Choropedapos lyonae* means "Lyon's skipped over,*
and if you heard the story of the discovery of the
*Carcharodontosaurus* skull in 1995, this one comes
easy.

  So, I hope not too many people were waiting for the
references to pick these papers up (you never know!);
thing is, Paul (1988a,b) suggested that the front of
the jaws of dromaeosaurids may have supported a
keratinous sheath, because there is a highly rugose
region of the dentary anteriorly that would have
supported such a structure, so he deserves credit for
that -- but you never know ... and those places really
are the most likely to find the next big finds. An
african oviraptorosaur or segnosaur is waiting
somewhere in the wings, I'm sure.

=====
Jaime "James" A. Headden

"Come the path that leads us to our fortune."

Qilong---is temporarily out of service.
Check back soon.

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