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RE: Largest bird from the Early Cretaceous China

> From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu]On Behalf Of
> David Marjanovic
> I think I have found the etymology for *Sapeornis*:
> http://www.cmnh.org/fun/dinosaur-archive/2001Aug/msg00533.html

Yes indeed! From the _Sapeornis_ paper:
SAPE is the abbreviation for the Society of Avian Paleontology and
Evolution. The fifth SAPE conference was held in China in June 2000, shortly
before the holotype was collected. The species name is derived from the type
locality 'Chaoyang'."

Their phylogenetic analysis uses Dromaeosauridae as an outgroup.
_Archaeopteryx_ is the basalmost bird, _Sapeornis_ the next branch up, then
_Confuciusornis_, then the Enatiornithes - Euornithes split (each
represented by several species in their analysis).

>From their paper, _Sapeornis_ is united with _Confuciusornis_ and more
derived birds by:
distal caudals fused into a pygostyle, distal condyles of humerus developed
on anterior surface, semilunate carpal and metacarpals II and III fused,
distal end of pubes straight and subequal in proportions with rest of pubis,
and calcaneum and astragalus completely fused with each other and tibia.

                Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                Vertebrate Paleontologist
Department of Geology           Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland          College Park Scholars
                College Park, MD  20742
Phone:  301-405-4084    Email:  tholtz@geol.umd.edu
Fax (Geol):  301-314-9661       Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-405-0796