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EOTYRANNUS & DROMAEOSAURS



On _Eotyrannus_ (it's a silly name for a Cretaceous taxon I known but 
it seems to have worked well in the media), Ken asked...

> They indicate that you said Eotyrannus may also be "closely
> related" to Velociraptor.  Is that an accurate quote, and if so, is it 
> "closely
> related" enough to have important implications concerning the
> phylogeny of coelurosaurs as a whole?   That would make it even more
> exciting.

As you might have guessed, this is typical media fact-scrambling. 
Newspaper people have only a few frames of reference when talking 
about theropods and _Tyrannosaurus_ and _Velociraptor_ are among 
the few names they know. _Eotyrannus_ has no characters that link it 
with velociraptorines (though see the paper for some comments on 
_Dromaeosaurus_) - what instead happened was that I said that 
_Eotyrannus_ would have superficially resembled _Velociraptor_ 
perhaps more than _Tyrannosaurus_ (in being a svelte long-armed 
long-handed predator). In other words, it seems to be confirmation of 
the 'tyrannoraptor' hypothesis hinted at by Matthew and Brown and 
discussed by someone called Tom Holtz.

So far as we can tell _Eotyrannus_ is a basal tyrannosauroid. It has 
some strange autapomorphies and some of its characters may in the 
long run have implications for the position of tyrannosauroids in the 
coelurosaur tree, but this will have to wait for the full osteology 
(something I'm trying to work on now). Time constraints meant that 
we couldn't publish the phylogenetic analysis but expect incorporation 
of _Eotyrannus_ in cladograms within the near future.

Incidentally, the paper includes a general review of the Wealden small 
theropods. A more detailed review is to be published later this year.

Oh well, back to the pterosaur proofs...

DARREN NAISH 
PALAEOBIOLOGY RESEARCH GROUP
School of Earth & Environmental Sciences
UNIVERSITY OF PORTSMOUTH
Burnaby Building
Burnaby Road                           email: darren.naish@port.ac.uk
Portsmouth UK                          tel (mobile): 0776 1372651     
P01 3QL                                tel (office): 023 92842244