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Oviraptor's Dirty Little Secret
Ken Kinman (email@example.com) wrote:
<We simply don't know what they ate, but we do know that they possessed
jaws that are very much like recent bird jaws in form. I just now look at
it as two branches of birds developing a similar jaw in parallel. My
advice to phylocoders is to steer clear of "oviraptoroxxxxxx" types names
(oviraptoroidea, oviraptorosauria, etc.).>
I think Ken is adding a hidden "bird" to the etymology, using _kainos_
to modify an absent "bird" rather than _gnathos_, the jaw itself. Perhaps
he's correct and Sternberg intended the name to refer to a Mesozoic bird
of Cenozoic type ... probably based on the illusion that all non Recent
birds were considered paleognaths (and that's why he put it there). Will
But for some reason, no one has really looked at the jaws of
oviraptorids (except the overlooked treatment of Barsbold, the brief
treatment of Smith, and now, which is the most extensive to date -- it had
better be, I've been waiting for this for a while...) to satisfy the above
held concept that they may not have had eggs as a staple in their diet.
This is irrelevant. The name is a historic artefact and until the ICZN
changes the rules or we dismiss it (I sorta like the rules, it allows one
to know what they're doing and keeps the "feel good" stuff to a minimum)
or change the rules, *Oviraptor* stays and so does it's utility in higher
What I see -- and I pray that I insult no one, I have no other more
tactful way to say this -- is that the history of a name is used against
it, and the issue of priority is dismissed, yet in the same phylogeny,
issue of priority is upheld to substantiate further names. I would like to
Jaime A. Headden
Little steps are often the hardest to take. We are too used to making leaps
in the face of adversity, that a simple skip is so hard to do. We should all
learn to walk soft, walk small, see the world around us rather than zoom by it.
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