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Re: Status of _Utahraptor_?



George,
This sounds even worse than the Alvarezsaurus case. I wonder what someone like Carroll or Romer would do in such cases.
Seems like these scrappy things should be placed in a "plesion" of their own, not made the type of whole families. EGAD, am I becoming a splitter? What is the world coming to?
--------Ken
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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.
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