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HEADLESS OTHNIELIA



In a spinoff from the hypsilophodontid monophyly thread (were you 
impressed with the massive response Pete?), Tim wrote...
 
> As for the headless _Othnielia_...  I heard a very sad story about how
> the skull of _Othnielia_ was stolen ("head-hunted") before the
> specimen could be completely excavated.  [SNIP] Is this a true story?  If
> so, it has my blood boiling...

Rather than this being a definitely true story, I think it was Jim Jensen's 
hunch (i.e., that collectors found the skeleton and took the skull). This 
story was relayed (via George) on the DML a while back - check the 
archives. 

Back to the matter of whether ornithischians like _Agilisaurus_ and 
_Yandusaurus_ should be grouped together with _Hypsilophodon_ et 
al., a dinosaur society article by Paul Barrett and Paul Upchurch 
mentioned work by Barrett and David Norman (the one who studies 
ornithischians, not passerines*) in which it was demonstrated that these 
animals weren't even (necessarily) ornithopods. They may in fact be 
really basal ornithischians, though let's wait for the analyses before 
speculating too wildly... An upcoming paper I've seen cited as Norman 
and Barrett in press (or Barrett and Norman) is on Purbeck Group 
ornithischians and demonstrates the presence of both camptosaurids 
and heterodontosaurids in this unit (_'Iguanodon' hoggi_ and 
_Echinodon_ respectively.. both previously discussed on DML). This 
may include character analysis of diverse forms in which case it could 
dish the dirt on the Chinese taxa.

Purbeck dinosaurs are finally getting their due it would seem - Angela 
Milner is talking about the theropods at SVPCA.

*David Norman is an ornithologist best known for his work on 
Fieldfares (_Turdus pilaris_). In other words, there are two David 
Normans that work on dinosaurs.

"The only disquieting note was the reports.... of 'cervicals' living wild 
in the area. Obviously a smear campaign is afoot."

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
P01 3QL