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RE: Neuquenraptor argentinus




Some other interesting tidbits...

_Hulsanpes_ is given as a "derived dromaeosaurid". (There had been murmurs that this maniraptoran might be a bird. Looks like it's back in with the dromies.)

_Unquillosaurus_ is not mentioned explicitly, but it is referenced by Novas and Pol with respect to "bizarre representatives [of Maniraptora] of large size". Earlier, Novas and Agnolin (2004) call _Unquillosaurus_ a "giant maniraptoran". However, my back-of-the-envelope calculations give an estimated body length of 4m for _Unquillosaurus_. This is based on the length of the pubis (c.50 cm), which is all we have to go on. Relatively speaking, 4m really isn't very big for a theropod - especially considering that we have alvarezsaurids and dromaeosaurids that were at least that large. And therizinosauroids were typically larger, and no doubt much heavier.

The arctometarsalian foot of _Neuquenraptor_ and troodontids implies that derived dromaeosaurids lost this trait. I wonder why? As Jeff Hecht mentions in the _New Scientist_ article, dromies like _Velociraptor_ might have been less speedy than their arctomet counterparts.

Also note that the dromaeosaur was found "while digging up the rib cage of a titanosaurid sauropod". Coincidence? Or was the poor titanosaur the predator's last meal?

I might be wrong here, but I believe that _Neuquenraptor_ is the first direct evidence of a South American theropod that has an enlarged sickle-claw on its foot (the second toe, as in other paravians). We lack the right pedal material for _Unquillosaurus_ and _Unenlagia_ to determine if these guys had sickle-claws; the enlarged sickle-claw of _Megaraptor_ appears to come from the hand, not the foot (based on new material); and that of _Noasaurus_ is open to doubt based on comparisons with related taxa (especially _Masiakosaurus_).


Tim