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Re: DINOSAUR digest 3467
Jorge Dichenberg wrote:
Also hand and finger mobility of oviraptorids would be
interesting. I wonder if hand was mobile and grasping,
or like Archeopteryx, a kind of proto-wing with only
claws free, useless for anything but display.
Hopson (2001) showed that the phalangeal proportions of the manus of
_Oviraptor_ were similar to the feet of predatory birds.
Maniraptorans appear to have lost a great deal of the mobility within the
manus. Gishlick (2001) noted that _Deinonychus_ was incapable of one-handed
prehension, and Senter and Parrish (2005) came to the same conclusion for
_Chirostenotes_. Oviraptorids were probably the same - especially given
that in at least one oviraptorid (_Heyuannia_) the manus shows some
carpometacarpal fusion. So, maniraptorans could only grasp objects using
both hands, like pincers. This is OK if the maniraptoran is grasping large
prey, but extremely unhelpful if the maniraptoran wants to grab small
The presence of wings (or proto-wings) in _Caudipteryx_ and
_Protarchaeopteryx_ (basal oviraptorosaurs), _Jinfengopteryx_ (a
troodontid?), and microraptorans, as well as birds, suggests that this
character is primitive for the Maniraptora - at least using the principal of
phylogenetic bracketing. So oviraptorids (and velociraptorines) either
retained wings or proto-wings, or secondarily lost them.