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The validity of *Microraptor gui* (was: Re: Archie skull pneumatics?)



HP Nick Gardner wrote:

> I still doubt that *Microraptor gui* is a separate species.  How can one
> argue that the pubis in *M. zhaoianus* was not strongly bowed in lateral
> view if the holotype and the referred specimen are preserved in ventral
> view?  And tibia appears bowed in the holotype of *M. zhaoianus* as well.
> Therefore, that's two characters that aren't definitely separating them
any
> more.
>
I feel Nick is right here, as he correctly points out, the (few) supposed
apomorphies of this new species are also available in the already named and
known Microraptor zhaoianus. Moreover, a ratio like the length of the first
manual digit vs metacarpal 2 length might even be part of the same
differences we see everyday in animals or it might even vary among the
animals lifespan.
As for the bowed tibia, when observing the referred specimen of Cryptovolans
pauli, the tibia is more strongly bowed than it is in the holotype of M.
gui. Even the Nature paper reports that "the tibia is variably bowed, more
so in the referred specimen than the holotype". The original
Microraptor-paper from Nature, describing M. zhaoianus, and it's figures,
appear to show a lesser degree of bowing, which, coupled with the
information in these specimens, might also be very variable between the
single genus and species.

Rutger Jansma