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Fwd: "Ichabodcraniosaurus" and NGMC 91

Mark asked me to forward this on...

--- Mark Norell <norell@amnh.org> wrote:
> Date: Sat, 16 Feb 2002 11:15:45 -0500
> To: qilongia@yahoo.com
> From: Mark Norell <norell@amnh.org>
> This weekend I read several entries from the archives, just to
> clarify a few issues:
> 1) "ichabodcranosaurus" was referred to in passing in Mike Novacek's
> first book.  This reference refers to an as yet unnamed dromaeosaur
> skeleton collected at Khulsan and figured (fig. 24) in Norell and
> Makovicky 1999- Important features of the dromaeosaurid skeleton II.
> It is Novitates # 3282. The specimen number is IGM 100/980.  The name
> comes from how pissed off Perle and I  were after spending days
> excavating it in bad sandstorm conditions only to find out that while
> most of the skeleton was there up to the axis/atlas it had no head.
> The skull has never been discovered.  I think what people are
> referring to is another unnamed dromaseosaur, known only from a skull
> and a few cervicals, from Ukhaa Tolgod (IGM 100/1015) which is on the
> cover of Discovering Dinosaurs 2nd edition.  This animal will have a
> name in the next few months.
> 2) I, nor my coauthors have never said that NGMC 91 is referable to
> sinornithosaurus.  NGMC 91 is a very frustrating specimen.  It looks
> wonderful, the integumentary covering is very well preserved, but
> morphology is obscured. It is smashed flat and shattered.  Bones are
> only visible in crossection.  While it can be referred to a
> dromaeoasur group (see our paper), that is as far as we are willing
> to go.  We could have easily found minutiae that would have allowed
> us to designate NGMC 91 as a new taxon.  It would have been in our
> best interest to do so.  However, it does none of us any good to
> recognize yet another bad type specimen.  If we were into this game
> we could have a press conference every few months naming new poorly
> preserved rubble dinosaurs from the Gobi and China.  These animals
> are diagnosable, they are on my desk and in my cabinets, I just don't
> see how it helps us to name them.
> 3) The name Dave is an old Cheech and Chong reference to "Dave's not
> here".  After a very long trip the name just seemed so obvious to my
> crew.
> 4) I agree with Jaimie that people should study real specimens.  I
> know what we can see in the specimens, the photographs show less.  If
> we are unwilling to make a referral (as in the case of NGMC 91) leave
> it at that, unless you have looked at it yourself.
> 5) My comments at Goddard.  Jura- of course I have seen the embryos
> from Patagonia.  They were exhibited at the AMNH.  Luis found them
> while he was at the AMNH.  Do you dispute the presence of
> integumentary structures in the Liaonong psittacosaurs?  Certainly if
> ornithischian dinosaurs had such structures, one would predict that
> ALL saurischians and ornithischians (including sauropods) had them.
> Also my definition of feathers in such general talks includes
> protofeathers and so called dino fuzz.  I would never suggest that
> adult sauropods or even babies necessarily had fully formed complete
> body coverings of modern aspect- yet it is predicted by phylogeny
> that they had some integumentary structures that are homologous to
> feathers no matter how you want to define them. Easily these could be
> combined with the pebbly skin found on modern bird feet and the
> fragments of fossil skin that have shown up.  Recognizing some of the
> new pterosaur material from China (yes Liaoning) again, it is highly
> likely that these sort of features will extend out to at least
> pterosaurs + dinosauria.  Yes I did say that the available evidence
> suggests that all dinsoaurs had feathers or protofeather
> integumentary structures during some part of their lifecycle. I will
> stand by this as it is the most parsimonious explanation to explain
> the distribution of structures we see in the available fossils.
> Also all the evidence for feathers and integumentary structures comes
> from the last decade or so at Liaoning-  any comments on feathered
> dinosaurs before that are speculation not based on evidence- sort of
> like my own speculations about color patterns in dinosaurs reflected
> in the models and animations in the AMNH dinosaur halls.
> 6) A comprehensive analysis of coelurosaurs that includes microraptor
> will appear soon.  The data matrix will be available at
> http://research.amnh.org/users/norell/TWGhome.html          Along
> with our other matrices.  The links go live coincident with
> publication.  The sinovenator  matrix will be up early next week.
> Errors and reinterpretation always exist- in comment it is best to
> restrict it to the most recent iteration of our matrix.  All
> comments, corrections etc. are appreciated.
> 7) The classification issues that are coming up all of the time about
> whether microraptor is a dromaeosurid or sinovenator is a troodontid
> are naïive.  It does not matter what you call these animals  and many
> of us are adverse to using any formal names for higher taxa.  Current
> phylogentic hypotheses show that microraptor is more closely related
> to sinornithosaurus, velociraptor, deinonychus, etc. than it is to
> anything else. Sinovenator is likewise more closely related to
> Ttroodon, byronosaurus and saurornithoides, etc. than it is to
> anything else.
> Sorry about the rant- just trying to clarify a few issues.
> --
> Mark A. Norell                                212-769-5804
> Chair, Division of Paleontology               212 769-5842 (FAX)
> American Museum of Natural History
> Central Park West at 79th St.
> New York, New York 10024-5192
> http://research.amnh.org/vertpaleo/norell.html

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