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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. (since
they include Sinovenator, and Jinfengopteryx does not clade with it), but it
seems we have the most complete troodontid known, and the only one with
preserved feathers.

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 _Borogovia_.


Tim