Mark Norell asked me to forward this to the list-
All, bear with me- just a couple of comments:
First Huaxisaurus is not a dinobird. I have the specimen here on loan in NYC and it is being worked on by one of my students and myself. It is a fairly big animal (longer than 170 cm) with some real surprises in the skeleton.
Second, in response to Josh Smith's comment on my feelings about the age of the Liaoning beds. To quote from our paper.
The age of the fossil beds in western Liaoning is debated. Certain faunal elements suggest a Late Jurassic age; radiometric work from several sites near Sihetun has suggested conflicting dates of 124.6 mybp or 147 mybp. The age of these beds is a complex problem and probably several ages are represented at different quarry sites. No radiometric samples exist from the Fanzhangzi quarry (NGMC 91 site) and stratigraphic correlations are imprecise because the Fanzhangzi quarry is over 130 kilometers from the Sihetun site.
Much of the press took an average of this date.
A lot more work needs to be done before the ages of each quarry are sorted out. Personally, I could care less if these beds are Late Jurassic or Early Cretaceous, however, if anyone has any objections to the paper
Lo, C-H. Chen, P.-J., Tsou, T.-Y., Sun, S.-S & Lee, C.-Y. 40Ar/39Ar laser single-grain and K-Ar dating of the Yixian Formation. NE China. in Jehol Biota (eds Chen, P-J. & Jin, F.) 328-340 (1999).
I would like to hear them.
Third- regarding the discussion about our website. The so called leak occurred during testing. All of us who publish in Science and Nature are very sensitive about the embargoes to the point of not discussing other peoples work before it is appropriate. We put up websites with color pictures as a service to professionals and nonprofessionals- especially to give people access to good quality images when they do not have access to the journals. We do not have to do this, and if the community wants us to keep it up then do not abuse this information.
Fourth- regarding the silly errors in the press release (sickle like middle claw). These are my own fault caused by reading a low res fax in a hotel in Shenyang last week. My crew and I returned from China last Saturday. As far as ongoing work on the Jehol theropods- you have'nt seen anything yet.
Mark A. Norell
Chair, Division of Paleontology
American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 79th St.
New York, New York 10024-5192