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Re: PROTORATITE?




I believe the correct spelling is Palaeocursornis. But I don't think it is worth the bother. It is apparently based only on a femur. Since ratite phylogeny is controversial even when based on whole skeletons, I wouldn't think a lone femur is worth much, other than the fact that it is very old (apparently Early Cretaceous).
-----Ken Kinman
*********************************************************
From: Mike Eagle <meagle@akmuseum.org.nz>
Reply-To: meagle@akmuseum.org.nz
To: "'dinosaur@usc.edu'" <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Subject: PROTORATITE?
Date: Fri, 9 Jun 2000 14:02:19 +1200

New Zealand had dinosaurs that lived on an island raft isolated from the
greater world for about twenty million years, before they joined the rest of
their cousins at the big K-T coffee-break. It also appears that New Zealand
was one of the few island arks that gave rise to swimming (penguins), flying
(avians), and running (ratite) birds. Given the paucity of fossils and
recent DNA inference, the ratites are becoming more and more of a mystery
just as New Zealand dinosaurs have always been. Ratite phylogeny seems
dubious and dispersal even more curious. Further in this pursuit of
knowledge can anyone out there enlighten me on Paleocursornis found fossil
in Romania? A few references, a couple of paragraphs...or both would be
welcome! Like everywhere else in the world a literature starvation is
occurring in our libraries caused by the price of books and a lack of funds.
Of course, living at high latitudes (like our dinosaurs did in the Jurassic
and Cretaceous), on several islands floating above the rather active
subduction zone of conflicting tectonic plate boundaries kilometers from
anywhere has nothing to do with the lack of knowledge. Incidently, I have
never seen a Kiwi swim in salt water. A rather large swim from Australia to
New Zealand sometime after a Gondwanan break-up of the two at about 90 Ma.,
ceasing at 60 Ma. seems most unlikely. It may have occurred at night, in
which case I missed it! A more likely senario is that the protokiwi was
probably here all along and Aussie now has an emu and NZ has a kiwi. Such
are the vagrancies of genes!


Happy fossiling!

Michael K. Eagle MRNZ
Geologist and Paleontologist
Research Associate
Natural History
Auckland War Memorial Museum
Private Bag 92018
Auckland
NEW ZEALAND

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