Diagnosis- [...] only two phalanges present on
manual digit III; [...]
There are only two phalanges in manual digit
III. They are both very small, the second smallest, and do not reach
past the midpoint of phalanx II-1. There is no
:-o :-o :-o What? Why? How? ??? Bizarre
convergence to Ornithothoraces...
Holotype- (NGMC 97-4-A) (890 mm) skull (76 mm),
lower jaws, cervical vertebae, cervical ribs, dorsal vertebrae, dorsal ribs,
gastralia, twenty-two caudal vertebrae, chevrons, coracoid, sternal plate (36
mm), humeri (69 mm), radii, ulnae, mani,
Unfortunately "manus" again, allegedly with
a longer u... manus belongs to the u declination, which has plural on
-us, whereas most other words (humerus, radius, astragalus,
tarsus...) on -us belong to the o declination, which has -i.
Teeth are serrationless and constricted at the
Ruben and Jones (2000) support
the hypothesis Caudipteryx is a secondarily flightless bird. They argue
against the theropod status of Caudipteryx by refuting the three "unambiguous
characters" cited by Ji et al. (1998) that birds have and it lacks. They
say the quadratojugal cannot be proven to have been sutured with the quadrate,
as they do not contact in the holotype and show a photo of the specimen which
differs in this aspect from the figure in Ji et al.. Oviraptorid
specimens GIN B and ZPAL MgD-I/96 (Maryanska and Osmolska, 1997) show a
cotylar articulation between the two bones and Velociraptor has a reduced
loose contact (Barsbold and Osmolska, 1999), so the character wouldn't
mean much even if they are correct (the cranial elements of Caudipteryx
are loosely articulated and sutures between most cannot be
A cotylar articulation without cranial
- reduced hypopubic cup. Plesiomorphic and
present in nearly all dinosaurs anyway....
What exactly is a hypopubic cup?
ball-shaped femoral head. Plesiomorphy only
absent in Archaeopteryx and Rahonavis.
- greatly shortened tail with
evidence of pygostyle formation. See above.
So they have got this idea, too?
In conclusion, "shortened tail" is the only character presented by
critics that is a potential Caudipteryx-pygostylian synapomorphy.
Several new discoveries surprisingly add evidence to this
including the possible low dorsal vertebral count
which is odd, considering the 5 sacral vertebrae (don't other
oviraptorosaurs have 7 and birds 8 or more?)
Is it possible that all known specimens (that stretches it, of
course) are immature, which could explain the unfused sterna (sutured in
Velociraptor, fused AFAIK in other oviraptorosaurs,
Pelicanimimus, tyrannosaurids, Sinraptor...) and the 5
* Adding four characters
mmmm... which ones?
Bambiraptor, Sinornithosaurus, Microraptor,
Unenlagia, Rahonavis and Archaeopteryx are successive outgroups to
Yandangornis and pygostylians (sorry, no more secondarily flightless