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Re: DA reviews





Gregory S. Paul wrote:

It is a good thing that Feduccia did not like the book, since if he actually
liked it it would be a very bad thing.

Heh heh. Very true.

The choice of Dr Feduccia to review DA was not an inspired one. His knowledge of modern birds is impressive, but when it comes to Mesozoic theropods, he quite clearly out of his depth. Like Czerkas' description of _Cryptovolans_, the review of DA in _Auk_ displays an unnerving lack of familiarity with the literature. This extract alone is loaded with errors and misconceptions:

"If dromaeosaurs can be unequivocally identified by salient, derived features such as extremely elongate prezygapophyses and chevrons and specialized pedal digit II (Xu et al. 2003 ), then one must ask just how _Archaeopteryx_ fits into the scheme, with typical Mesozoic ?avian? teeth, no specialized digit II, and certainly no elongate prezygapophyses. How can one imagine such a creature being derived from a dromaeosaurid ancestor defined by these salient features?"

For the gazillionth time, no one has suggested that birds evolved *from* deinonychosaurs, any more than humans evolved from chimps. The two are proposed to be sister groups.

The specialized pedal digit II is also seen in _Rahonavis_ (a bird!) and troodontids. _Microraptor_ has one too - and Feduccia suggests that _Microraptor_ should be removed from the Dromaeosauridae! [Says Feduccia: "In addition, the recently described four-winged dinosaur from China (Xu et al. 2003 ) appears to be much more birdlike than dromaeosaurlike, and its supposedly diagnostic dromaeosaur tail (also like that of a ramphorhynchoid pterosaur) and claws bear little close resemblance to those of the typical dromaeosaurs such as _Deinonychus_ and _Velociraptor_.] Says who?

Dromaeosaurid-like tails are also seen in _Shenzhouraptor_/_Jeholornis_ (a bird!!).

Dromaeosaurids are not "defined" by the "salient features" he mentions. The absence of one or more of these characters does not automatically exclude a taxon from inclusion in the Dromaeosauridae (e.g., _Adasaurus_).

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