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Re: Moroccan noasaurid?
I'm still really skeptical of "Noasauridae". The thing is, the cervical
neural arches assigned to Noasaurus have anterior prongs of the
epipophyses, a character which is absolutely unique in theropoda except
for abelisaurids like Carnotaurus; it isn't seen in Masiakasaurus. This
feature seems to imply that Noasaurus is a small relative of
Carnotaurus. That and Noasaurus also hails from Argentina so it may be
simpler to assume it's related to Carnotaurus rather than something in
And I mean, even for animals for which a very large percentage of
the skeleton is known for more than a century- Coelurus, Compsognathus,
Ornitholestes- we're still not sure what the heck these things are.
Alvarezsaurids are known from really good material, virtually all of the
skeleton and there's a lot of debate over what they relate to. Noasaurus
is known from like a maxilla, a neural arch, some digital material, all
of it mixed up in a bonebed... and there's no way to even be sure
*where* that claw goes. Can anyone give a single good reason why it
absolutely has to fit on the second digit of the foot... or even why it
has to be a pedal claw rather than a manual claw? As far as I know,
there's never been any evidence published to support this interpretation.
Given that (a) the material is really lacking (about a half dozen
bones to Noasaurus of probable yet unproven association and
identification), (b) at least some of the morphology argues against a
Noasaurus-Masiakasaurus clade exclusive of Carnotaurus (those weird
epipophyses), and (c) theropod phylogeny in general is still in a state
of flux in a lot of respects, well I think that it is a bit premature to
talk about a "Noasauridae".
re: Ornitholestes having a parietal crest, yeah as best I can tell
Ornitholestes does have a sagittal crest on the parietals so this seems
to be typical of many coelurosaurs.