[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]
RE: oldest sauropod found
Yeah, I got to review this paper prior to its publication, so I've been
waiting anxiously to see it come out in press. You can see some of my brief
comments at: http://dsc.discovery.com/news/briefs/20030630/dino.html#
This is very cool because Antetonitrus helps to shake up current
phylogenetic views on sauropod evolution. Yates and Kitching suggest
certain prosauropods were in fact basal sauropods. Wow! Yates has already
suggested and hinted at this in previous articles, but Antetonitrus is sure
to get people's attentions about this debate, which begs the question: are
prosauropods monophyletic or not?
For me, as a functional morphologist and someone interested in the evolution
of sauropod locomotion, what a neat juxtaposition of characters: a humerus
that looks like a prosauropod, but stretched out; a manus that looks like
cross between a sauropod's and a prosauropod's; etc., etc. This means I
need to look even more carefully at what prosauropods were doing with the
forelimbs and manus, which sounds great to me -- I just returned from Berlin
and Stuttgart, and I was able to get my hands on a number of prosauropod
I haven't been this fascinated or excited by early sauropods in quite awhile
-- this "new" specimen will certainly help us better decipher early sauropod
evolution. In my personal opinion, I am really beginning to wonder if there
is a prosauropod to sauropod grade, instead of a more monophyletic
Prosauropoda. I know this smacks against everything cladist, and I am not
dissing the cladistics method (check the archives for my various posting on
cladistics), but it will be interesting to see how and if Prosauropoda
becomes reconstituted phylogenetically, and what that will mean the
evolution of locomotion in such giant herbivores.
Can you tell I'm excited? It's a good time to be a sauropod researcher. =)
Matthew F. Bonnan, Ph.D.
Dept. Biological Sciences
Western Illinois University
Macomb, IL 61455
MSN 8 helps eliminate e-mail viruses. Get 2 months FREE*.