I'm back from tremendous modem problems (so I got 170 mails at once and one 15 minutes later).
When I asked what furculae are actually good for I should have written I know of the spring-like mechanism in recent flying birds; I mean what they could have been evolved for. Neither boomerang-shaped ones (Archaeopteryx, Sinornithosaurus, Tyrannosauridae, Confuciusornithidae) nor broad V-shaped ones (the plesiomorphy, secondarily evolved in Dromaeosauridae sensu stricto) could have been useful for that.
Jibeinia is named after Yibei? Does Hou use the first suggestion for Pinyin (from the 50's) which would have used j for y and y for Ã (and the Russian letter Ñ [that 180Â turned h] for ch?
Concerning Iberomesornis and Sinornis (both enantiornithines with reduced mt IV), have all the people interested read the latest Sereno paper (which corrects Sereno & Rao 1992: Sinornis has no gastralia, so no known bird has)?
Concerning the dinosaur enclave in Yemen, I have a few suggestions:
- How can someone dinosaur-size possibly survive the Chicxulub impact (and the possible Shiva impact, which ?was even closer)?
- "Suppose that a river/lake-living dinosaur evolved in the Late Cretaceous of Africa [...]" Rather impossible; this niche was held by crocodiles (and a few freshwater plesiosaurs and hesperornithiforms).
- How do you reliably keep the dinos in and modern animals like vultures out for 65 ma? Besides, terrestrial pure carrion eaters are probably impossible (as stated in every discussion on T. rex). Any carrion eaters there will certainly be the vultures common in the surroundings.
- No Mongolian dinosaurs, meaning ABSOLUTELY NO TYRANNOSAUROIDS, no ceratopsids, no protoceratopsians (except maybe if the aff. Leptoceratops ulna from Early Cretaceous Australia is protoceratopsian), and so on. There was the Tethys ocean between Iran + Turkey and Iraq, and the Asian mainland ended east of the Caspian Sea and the Ural which was an island of its own. There was no connection between Mongolia and the Middle East.
- Dromaeosaurs are possible, since they were around in Sudan (but not Velociraptor in person!), troodontids are probably not (Troodon has been reported from Argentina, as far as I know, but that was after Africa split off. Maybe Africa was still connected to India and India via KerguÃlen to Antarctica. Same holds for hadrosaurs.).
- Oviraptorosaurs are possibly known from Early Cretaceous Australia. To my mind it's quite probable they ate e. g. water snails (plentiful in the Gobi).
- Why reevolve spinosaurs from allosauroids when there plenty of spinosaurs in Africa?
- Feel free to include a few birds (enantiornithines...).
- Rather use too many (proto)feathers than too few. Who knows whether e. g. Noasaurus was feathered? Be careful with lizard analogies.
- Probably abelisaurids were around (there is only negative evidence, though, except those "Majungasaurus" scraps from Egypt).- Juveniles and adults filling different niches is only possible if the young are very, very precocial (and grow rather slowly) -- not probable for dinosaurs.
- Island habitats often cause large animals to shrink and vice versa -- there were e. g. giant badgers (Deinogalerix) in Neogene southern Italy.
- I would include terrestrial crocodiles (notosuchids and... Honored Person Brochu knows which else were around in Africa); they could have evolved into pretty anything, because they did -- there were herbivorous crocodilomorphs (Phyllodontosuchus, ?Edentosuchus or whatever the name, Chimaerasuchus, Simosuchus), for example. There are even people around believing Terrestrisuchus was arboreal (or that something similar might have become).
- What mammals were there around in Africa at the time?
- Standing up like meerkats (interesting that you use the word; Meerkatzen [literally "sea cats" -- compare mermaids] in German) really is something only mammals do -- never seen a bird or lizard or croc doing likewise.
- "The Ottoman Empire or the Turks" -- one and the same, since the first Turkish leader notorious in history was called Osman.
- Don't you put the Bermuda Triangle as something mystical. It seems that this is simply an area where methane hydrate is decaying, creating occasional blobs of methane gushing upwards. Ships can't swim on foam, and planes get serious problems without oxygen, so both sink and disappear.
- Sad that you want to use Yemen in the first place. E. g. New Zealand would really be better.
- "a gradual transformation into something frightening happening so slowly that people don't realize the danger" ("philidor11") Why has it to be danger again? Do we need another bunch of JP/Lost World monsters? Isn't the thrill of discovery enough? Can't there be a happy end?
Where/when/why have the few ornithomimosaurian teeth I quoted become a complete skeleton?
What age is the Kimmeridge Clay? Kimmeridgian?
Why are Crocodylus and all taxon names derived from that (-inae, -idae, -iformes, -omorpha, -otarsi...) always written with y? It's krokodeilos in Greek and (therefore) crocodilus in Latin (I've checked the dictionary to be sure).
As far as I know, Chimaerasuchus is thought to be notosuchid (bit out of place...)
I'll read the new Rossmann article on Pristichampsus (German is my mother tonge, huh, huh, heh, heh...)