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RE: Jinfengopteryx elegans the troodontid
Mickey Mortimer wrote:
I'll save my final judgement until I get the data matrix of Ji et al.
they include Sinovenator, and Jinfengopteryx does not clade with it), but
seems we have the most complete troodontid known, and the only one with
Ji Qiang and Ji Shu'an (who were part of the team that described
_Jinfengopteryx_) were also the first scientists to describe
_Sinosauropteryx_. In 1996, these same authors regarded _Sinosauropteryx_
as a bird on account of its feathery body covering.
The _Jinfengopteryx_ specimen also contains small oval structures "reddish
yellow in color" within the body cavity. Ji et al. (2005) offer no firm
conclusions on what they are; they could be ova, but the authors do not seem
too enthusiastic about that conclusion. They could be "seeds or nuts".
(Warning: Rampant speciulation ahead...) If _Jinfengopteryx_ is a
troodontid, and if the things in its belly are indeed seeds or nuts, it
would offer the first evidence for the diet of a troodontid. Some authors
have suggested that troodontids were omnivores or herbivores, not dedicated
carnivores like their velociraptorine relatives. The feet of
_Jinfengopteryx_ (although poorly preserved) lack the raptorial refinements
of other deinonychosaurs and _Rahonavis_, but are more like _Tochisaurus_ or