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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.
PALAEOBIOLOGY RESEARCH GROUP
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UNIVERSITY OF PORTSMOUTH
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