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Feathered tyrannosauroids; it's delightful, it's delicious...
...it's Dilong paradoxus!
XU, X., M.A. NORELL, X. KUANG, X. WANG, Q. ZHAO & C. JIA. 2004. Basal
tyrannosauroids from China and evidence for protofeathers in
tyrannosauroids. Nature 431:680-684.
Birds? Pah! Stump-tailed, swelled-headed flying mutants.
Spinosaurids? Crocodile-wannabes with fish on their breath.
Dromaeosaurids? Early K has beens who hung around far after they were
This paper is about REAL theropods.
Namely, Dilong paradoxus (the paradoxical Imperial Dragon), the most
complete basal tyrannosauroid yet known, from the Yixian of Liaoning. Four
specimens are known (one of which may prove to be from a second species),
including a wonderfully complete skull. Adult length estimated at 1.6 m.
Oh, yeah, and there are protofeathers on it.
Dilong's anatomy includes:
Fully D-shaped premaxillary teeth, comparable in size & shape to the (nearly
contemporaneous) Tetori Group tyrannosauroid tooth.
Nasals fused even in juveniles.
Robust, pneumatic lacrimal, and pneumatic jugal.
Small but well-defined saggital crest, and well-developed transverse nuchal
Highly pneumaticized basicranium, with deep basisphenoid recess.
Distal end of scapula greatly expanded relative to shaft.
Three fingered manus, with a very slender metacarpal III.
Extremely large pubic boot.
In other words, not terribly different to what I've been predicting for the
last 15 years (except for the last one, except that for the last four years
or so I've advocated a non-arctometatarsalian ancestry of tyrannosauroids).
Obviously, I'm VERY VERY happy about this little guy.
Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Department of Geology Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland College Park Scholars
Building 237, Room 1117
College Park, MD 20742
Phone: 301-405-4084 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fax (Geol): 301-314-9661 Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-405-0796