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Non-avian Uncinates



I know that a few people (Gregory S. Paul, for one) have remarked that
dromaeosaurs and oviraptorosaurs have uncinates, even though they are
not present in the fossils of non-ornithurine birds.

Have other recognized authorities weighed in on this?  Are those
uncinates on the ribs of the "fighting" _Velociraptor_ specimen?  If
not, what are those things?  Is there a consensus among theropod
specialists?  Has anything been published on the subject (aside from the
dinosaur mailing list archives)?

Also, what is the purpose of uncinates in living birds and the
hypothetical use of these structures in non-avian theropods?  How do
uncinates correlate with respiratory structure and function?

-- Ralph W. Miller III   ralph.miller@alumni.usc.edu