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Re: Support for Enigmosauria
I would like to thank Mickey Mortimer for his detailed report on
proposed "enigmosaur" synapomorphies (part of his work still in progress).
Sometimes I think he must be like the energizer bunny, and I wonder when he
finds time to eat or sleep. His enthusiasm is remarkable.
Anyway, he seems to be doing a great job of separating the "wheat from
the shaff". Many proposed synapomorphies on that long "laundry list" are
clearly found in other groups besides "enigmosaurs", and of those examined
so far, two possibilities seemed to have survived: (1) ectopterygoid lateral
to palatine and (2) reduced basipterygoid processes. Whether either of
these will survive further scrutiny remains to be seen (and it seems likely
they could very easily be parallelisms that did not occur in more primitive
forms of a paraphyletic "enigmosauria".
Of the characters that have not been scrutinized, there are seven that
may still pass muster, but I am not particularly optimistic since these
lists seem to have far more "shaff than wheat".
In the meantime, I will be exploring for further characters that are
found in my expanded Class Aves (Maniraptora minus the segnosaurs sensu
(1) A "true" semilunate is still the most complex and promising.
(2) coracoid glenoid convex.
(3) a characteristic digit 2 of the pes is another that could be very
(4) and with the primitive eggshells of segnosaurs out of the way,
eggshell morphology could also prove useful.
(5) a few others I have just begun to explore.
In conclusion, I would say that the "light of scrutiny" is seriously
eroding the case for "enigmosaur" holophyly. Maybe the professionals, with
some knowledge (in advance) of forms down the publication pipeline, really
do know something convincing that will support enigmosaur holophyly. I
personally doubt it, because other data (kindly provided by
"not-yet-official-professionals" like Jaime and Mickey) seem to argue
against enigmosaur holophyly when scrutinized carefully. Sorry, but for the
time being the segnosaurs remain rejected, although they do appear to be the
nearest outgroup to the true maniraptor-bird clade.
------ Cheers, Ken Kinman
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