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Coelurus a maniraptoran (for how long?)




Tom,
I guess I should have said that I don't recall you recently placing Coelurus in Maniraptora "in print". In your DML post below (in January), where you say Coelurus is "further up the tree", I didn't take it to mean all the way up into Maniraptora.
And compsognathids were at the same time jumping several nodes in the opposite direction like acrobats in a circus. How confident are you that they won't switch back again in next year's cladogram (with compsognathids going back up into Maniraptora and Coelurus going back down near Ornitholestes)? And with tyrannosaurs jumping around (and who knows what troodonts might do next), I'm not sure the maniraptoriform or maniraptoran boundaries are very useful anyway (except to keep ornithomimids stationary). The ornithomimids are going to get dizzy with all these groups leap-frogging back and forth overhead in both directions.
I was rather taken aback when you said this morning that it "doesn't matter what other taxa belong in there." It does matter to a lot of us. Is sacrificing stability of content in the name of "stability of definition" really the best path to a more stable nomenclature? Lots of people obviously don't think so, and anchoring down one genus (even Ornithomimus) in the midst of all these cladistic jumping beans appears to have been rather premature. This makes "waiting for papers" even harder, when they are already out-of-date by the time they appear.
Guess I'd better just stick with a coelurosaur clade (which really does have a consensus "content"), and I will no longer use "maniraptoriforms" and "maniraptorans" even informally, because they may or may not include tyrannosauroids, compsognathids, Coelurus, Scipionyx, Bagaraatan, and many others (even Proceratosaurus??). Why has Neocoelurosauria fallen out of usage when it seems to have a far more stable content than Maniraptora or Maniraptoriformes? Has Neocoelurosauria been cladistically defined? If I sound a little aggravated, I am---but just wait until BANDits start in on PhyloCode when it is implemented. That's when things are really going to hit the fan, and my complaints will seem bland in comparison.
----Ken
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Jan. 8, 2001, Tom Holtz wrote:
In my Gaia paper compsognathids do fall out as basal maniraptorans; in a modified version of the same matrix in the forthcoming Ostrom symposium volume, they fall out equally parsimoniously as basal arctometatarsalians or basal maniraptorans; in the SVP 2K matrix, they fall out again as basal coelurosaurs (indeed, one of the basalmost clades, with forms such as _Ornitholestes_ and _Coelurus_ further up the tree).
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