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Re: Oldest dromaeosaur?



On 3/19/06, MariusRomanus@aol.com <MariusRomanus@aol.com> wrote:
> What is the oldest verified dromaeosaur found to date?

There are several clades the informal term "dromaeosaur" could apply to:

_Dromaeosauridae_ sensu stricto (all descendants of the final common
ancestor of _Dromaeosaurus_ and _Velociraptor_): the earliest definite
member of this group is _Deinonychus_, I think, but there are other,
more fragmentary possibilities (like _Utahraptor_)

_Dromaeosauridae_ sensu lato: I don't this think has ever been
defined, but the terms "dromaeosaur" and "dromaeosaurid" have been
used to include dromaeosaurids sensu stricto, microraptorians,
unenlagiines, etc. I think _Graciliraptor_ is the earliest probable
member of this group, but, again, there may be some more fragmentary
possibilities.

_Deinonychosauria_: Only rarely do people use "dromaeosaur" to refer
to this group, which may or may not include troodontids. Earliest
published, well-known members are _Graciliraptor_, as well as _Mei_,
_Sinovenator_, and _Sinusonasus_, if troodontids are deinonychosaurs.
(Note that I said "published", though....) In a few researchers'
phylogenetic hypotheses, _Archaeopteryx_ is a deinonychosaur (and Paul
[1988] even synonymized Family Archaeopterygidae and Family
Dromaeosauridae).
--
Mike Keesey
The Dinosauricon: http://dino.lm.com
Parry & Carney: http://parryandcarney.com