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Re: Introducing: Sinovenator changii

Tim Williams wrote-

> Sadly, also, the _Sinovenator_ specimen does not preserve the
> on the foot.  Otherwise, the specimen provides very little to complain
> about.

Oh, but it does.  The data matrix codes "Penultimate phalanx of pedal digit
II highly modified for extreme hyper-extension, ungual more strongly curved
and about 50% larger than that of III" as being present.

Jaime Headden wrote-

> Problematically, this appelation is not correct, as the authors never
> stated such a referral. This stems from the specimen falling out as next
> to *Sinornithosaurus millenii* in Mickey Mortimer's analysis and
> subsequently becoming referred to that taxon by conferrence, by Mickey. I
> do not underestimate nor depreciate his ability to see possibly accurate
> relationships, but as Tom pointed out, and has been alluded to in the
> original paper, this specimen may involved several qualities of a basal
> deinonychosaur along with *Microvenator* that would be questionable to
> asusme it to any taxon at the moment. The "cf. Sinornithosaurus" label
> should be held in reserve for the moment.

I (surprise, surprise) disagree.  Sure the authors never stated such a
referral, but cf. Sinornithosaurus is the most accurate title for the
specimen until it's studied more closely.  Surely it's better than Ji et
al.'s "Dromaeosauridae gen. et sp. indet.".  First of all, neither
Sinornithosaurus or Microraptor (nor this specimen) are dromaeosaurids.
Deinonychosaurs perhaps (though I doubt it, especially for Microraptor), but
not dromaeosaurids.  Secondly, this specimen is clearly not indeterminate.
It has at least nine obvious differences from Microraptor, sixteen from
Bambiraptor, etc..  The closest taxon morphologically is Sinornithosaurus
millenii, as determined by anatomical comparison first, phylogenetic
analysis second.  It's almost certainly either an immature individual of
this species, the sister group to Sinornithosaurus millenii (as either a new
species or genus), or directly above/below Sinornithosaurus on the
cladogram.  Thus, it should be compared to Sinornithosaurus, as it certainly
has something to do with this taxon, and as David wrote "cf.
Sinornithosaurus" is appropriate.  Gives a better idea of what it is than
"Dromaeosauridae gen. et sp. indet." or "NGMC 91" do.

Mickey Mortimer