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Re: Status of _Caudipteryx_



Ken Kinman wrote-

> Any chance Protarchaeopteryx might fit in with
> "Microvenatoridae" as well?

Although I don't know of any characters that might unite Caudipteryx and
Microvenator outside of other oviraptorosaurs (and do know of a few that
argue against it), Protarchaeopteryx stands a good chance of being a basal
oviraptorosaur or at least a member of the segnosaur-oviraptorosaur clade.
It groups that way in my most recent analyses, although it has been a basal
paravian or deinonychosaur in the past.  There have been very few analyses
including Protarchaeopteryx.  Ji, Currie, Norell and Ji (1998) originally
placed it as a eumaniraptoran.  Currie now places it as a maniraptoriform
(1999 Ostrom Symposium).  Holtz (1999 Ostrom Symposium) found it was either
a basal maniraptoran or basal paravian.  Xu, Wang and Wu (1999) and Xu, Zhou
and Wang (2000) also find it to be a basal paravian.  To visualize better:
Ji et al.                     (drom + Protar (Caudi + avians))
Holtz(1)                   (Caudi + Protar ((segno + ovir) (drom + avians)))
Holtz(2)                   ((Caudi (segno + ovir)) (Protar (drom + avians)))
Xu, Wang and Wu   (ovir (Caudi (Protar (troodo (drom + avians)))))
mine                         ((segno + Protar (Caudi + ovir)) (troodo (drom
+ avians)))
mine before(1)         ((segno (Caudi + ovir)) (Protar (drom (troodo +
avians))))
mine before(2)         ((segno (Caudi + ovir)) ((Protar + drom) (troodo +
avians)))

* Troodontids are not shown in Holtz's phylogenies, as they had an equal
possibility of being non-maniraptorans or basal paravians.  Also,
Caudipteryx and Protarchaeopteryx could each be in either of the shown
positions in any one tree, making four possible equally parsimonious trees
(ignoring troodontids).

So again, the consensus is maniraptoran, although whether it's a basal
maniraptoran, basal segnosaur-oviraptorosaur, basal paravian or basal
deinonychosaur is anyone's guess.  Although my latest cladograms say basal
segnosaur-oviraptorosaur, its position is so jumpy I'd hesitate to put much
weight in that.

Mickey Mortimer