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Re: Our current understanding of Mesozoic bird phylogeny
Hou mentions it in the description, which wasn't translated at the time I
made my reconstruction. I'm guessing I assumed maxillary teeth to be
present and they were too small to make out of dotted lines. Really my
reconstructions of Hou's (2000) birds are hindered by optimistic placement
of fragments and Hou's terrible illustrations.
So, should we trust the interpretation of a toothless maxilla? :^)
I think the apparent sternal keel in the illustration is actually the
Hou notes "Dorsal to the
sternum there are extremely well preserved impressions of five to six
dorsal vertebrae ... Posterior to the dorsals are at least seven sacral
vertebrae basically composing a synsacrum. The centra are fused although
their count is still discernible. A single unified synsacrum is rare among
the Early Cretaceous taxa. There is a narrow ventral crest on the
synsacrum and a relatively deep longitudinal groove lies laterally on the
centra between the relatively expanded parapophyses."
Doesn't that sound odd for a sacrum? Could it be yet another case of a
sternum lying on top of the dorsal vertebral column, the shape of which is
I hope the holotype is described decently. The main important features
noted by the authors (prefrontal, postorbital-jugal contact) are probably
not real. Same goes for Dalingheornis and it's supposed heterodactly.
Then there's Dapingfangornis and it's supposed horn. Ughh... what an
Someone will have to go to China and produce a great big monograph...