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Re: Status of _Utahraptor_?



In a message dated 2/1/01 3:31:13 PM EST, j_mallon@hotmail.com writes:

<< Well, while on the subject of _Utahraptor_, and taking into account that 
it 
 may be a valid genera, have there been any further developments on its 
 affinities within the Dromaeosauridae?  Last I heard, its placement within 
 the dromaeosaurinae was still being questioned. >>

I've been rereading Phil Currie's (1995) description of Dromaeosaurus and let 
me tell you the family Dromaeosauridae is in deep trouble. Almost all the 
theropods everyone has been calling "dromaeosaurids" probably aren't; they 
should be referred to as "velociraptorids" instead (with Velociraptorinae 
raised to family level as Velociraptoridae). Dromaeosaurus is represented by 
a single specimen that is mainly a few skull and mandible bones with teeth, 
and these are quite different from comparable elements of velociraptorid 
theropods such as Deinonychus and Velociraptor. Phil noted these differences 
in segregating Dromaeosaurus in its own subfamily Dromaeosaurinae, but I 
think the differences are even stronger than that. For a few hours I 
contemplated the possibility that Dromaeosaurus is based on remains of a very 
immature Albertosaurus, but this is almost certainly not the case. Perhaps 
the closest relative of Dromaeosaurus is Mongolia's Bagaraatan, but since the 
only comparable elements are dentaries, this is a very tentative guess.