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Abbott & Costello Meet New Papers

OK, only one new paper, but of a beastie sure to send Bud & Lou scurrying 
animatedly for cover:

Xu, X., Tan, Q., Wang, J., Zhao, X., and Tan, L. 2007. A gigantic bird-like 
dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of China. Nature 447:844-847. doi: 


ABSTRACT: An evolutionary trend of decreasing size is present along the line to 
birds in coelurosaurian theropod evolution, but size increases are seen in many 
coelurosaurian subgroups, in which large forms are less bird-like. Here we 
report on a new non-avian dinosaur, Gigantoraptor erlianensis, gen. et sp. 
nov., from the Late Cretaceous Iren Dabasu Formation of Nei Mongol, China. 
Although it has a body mass of about 1,400 kg, a phylogenetic analysis 
positions this new taxon within the Oviraptorosauria, a group of small, 
feathered theropods rarely exceeding 40 kg in body mass. A histological 
analysis suggests that Gigantoraptor gained this size by a growth rate 
considerably faster than large North American tyrannosaurs such as 
Albertosaurus and Gorgosaurus. Gigantoraptor possesses several salient features 
previously unknown in any other dinosaur and its hind limb bone scaling and 
proportions are significantly different from those of other coelurosaurs, thus 
increasing the
 morphological diversity among dinosaurs. Most significantly, the gigantic 
Gigantoraptor shows many bird-like features absent in its smaller 
oviraptorosaurian relatives, unlike the evolutionary trend seen in many other 
coelurosaurian subgroups.

Jerry D. Harris
Director of Paleontology
Dixie State College
Science Building
225 South 700 East
St. George, UT  84770   USA
Phone: (435) 652-7758
Fax: (435) 656-4022
E-mail: jharris@dixie.edu <mailto:jharris@dixie.edu> 
 and     dinogami@gmail.com <mailto:dinogami@gmail.com> 
http://cactus.dixie.edu/jharris/ <http://cactus.dixie.edu/jharris/> 
"Trying to estimate the divergence times
of fungal, algal or prokaryotic groups on
the basis of a partial reptilian fossil and
protein sequences from mice and
humans is like trying to decipher
Demotic Egyptian with the help of an
odometer and the Oxford English
               -- D. Graur & W. Martin
                    (_Trends in Genetics_
                    20[2], 2004)