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Re: really big question



For background on the preservation of _Pelicanimimus_, see
Briggs, Derek E. G., Phillip R. Wilby, Bernardino P. Perez-Moreno, Jose Luis
Sanz and Marian Fregenal-Martinez. 1997. The mineralization of dinosaur soft
tissue in the Lower Cretaceous of Las Hoyas, Spain. Journal of the
Geological Society, London 154: 587-588.  For starters, you can read Jeff
Poling's summary at http://www.dinosauria.com/jdp/misc/pelecanimimus.html.

There are many possibilities regarding the integument of ornithomimids, and
these stem from some unanswered questions:
Is the _Pelicanimimus_ "skin" indicative of epidermis or does it represent
subcutaneous material?
Were there feathers on other parts of the body?
Did its ancestors have feathered throats, and were throat feathers lost in
the lineage prior to _Pelicanimimus_?
Where do compsognathids and ornithomimids fit into the theropod cladogram,
i.e. which is the more basal coelurosaur?  (Being coelurosaurs,
ornithomimids would be expected to exhibit simple feathers).

So, personally, I imagine _Pelicanimimus_ sported a filamentous integument,
but had a naked throat, though I certainly can't prove it.  Wait a few
years, and new Asian fossils may reveal more about the outward appearance of
ornithomimids.
--------
"Dino Guy" Ralph W. Miller III
Docent at the California Academy of Sciences
proud member of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology