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Ken Kinman wrote...

>       Obviously a lot of people disagree with you (that
>       Prolacertiformes is holophyletic, i.e. strictly moonophyletic).  

Are the Bovidae moonophyletic? Sorry, couldn't resist.

New paper just in...

MARTILL, D. M. and DAVIS, P. G. 2001. A feather with possible 
ectoparasite eggs from the Crato Formation (Lower Cretaceous, 
Aptian) of Brazil. _N. Jb. Geol. Palaont. Abh._ 219, 241-259.

This is the long writeup of the specimen previously reported in 
_Nature_. Probable mite eggs (paper includes SEM shots) represent 
the oldest reported occurrence of feather parasitism. The feather itself 
is also described - is interesting in that it is near-symmetrical and lacks 
hooked barbules, thus recalling body feathers of extant ratites. They 
thus speculate that the feather's owner was ratite-like in ecology, 
though may have been a non-avian theropod. The paper includes a 
handy listing of all Mesozoic feather localities.

Best spelling mistake: Hesperornithiniformes [sic].

Finally, as an aside, the extant ratite feathers Dave and Dave looked at 
belonged to rheas kept at Marwell Zoological Park, Hampshire. As a 
concerned conservationist I feel compelled to bring to your attention 
the probable impending closure of Marwell due to the foot and mouth 
epidemic (all UK zoos are closed for the duration to prevent infection 
of their hoofstock, and are consequently undergoing extreme financial 
hardship). Marwell has been pivotal in global conservation efforts and 
pioneered captive breeding programmes of Przewalski's horse, 
Scimitar-horned oryx, Asiatic lion and White rhino. Its closure would 
be a tragedy - I just wish there was more we could do to help.

School of Earth & Environmental Sciences
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