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Re: Coelophysoid-Protoavis connection?



Waylon Rowley wrote:
the skull of Protoavis is partially reconstructed. The orbits are huge and the bones don't appear to have interdigitated or have been well-sutured.<
This may be true. However, if this is so, it may just be a juvenile _Protoavis_, and not a coelophysoid. Lots of other theropods have large orbits (_Troodon_, for one example, as you mention).

So, is it possible that Protoavis is a baby coelophysoid with a non-ossified jugal-postorbital bar and a middle ear convergent with those of the Troodontidae? It seems like a more parsimonious explanation for such
an ancient animal.<
I don't view this as likely. With the huge ammount of specimens known from _Coelophysis_, including many infants and juveniles, it would seem unlikely that Chaterjee would mistake a coelophysoid skull for something else, even a juvenile. I don't have his Paleontogrpahica paper (but it is on order from ILL!!) yet, so I can't comment further on this diagnosis. But, as I said, it's unlikely that a juvenile coelophysoid skull and an avian skull (even a basal one) could be easily confused. Though you are right about coelophysoids (at least _Coelophysis_) having some things functionaly similar to _Troodon_.
Peace,
Rob


Student of Geology
Northern Arizona University
P.O. Box 20840
Flagstaff, Az. 86011
AIM: TarryAGoat
"A _Coelophysis_ with feathers?"

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