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RE: Introducing Mahakala omnogovae, little dromaeosaurid of Mongolia



Tim Williams wrote-

Turner &c also find a Microraptorinae+Unenlagiinae clade. The name Microraptoria is actually available for this clade, given Senter's original definition ("Taxa that are more closely related to _Microraptor_ than to _Velociraptor_ or _Dromaeosaurus.") So Microraptoria and Microraptorinae could both be used, if we employ the emended (and narrower) definition of Microraptorinae.

Interesting solution.

Other minor details include the recovery of an _Archaeopteryx+_Jeholornis_ clade, as Tom mentioned. No modern bird taxa were included in the analysis, so it'll be interesting what impact (if any) the inclusion of neornithean taxa would have on the position of _Rahonavis_ within the Dromaeosauridae, or on the _Archaeopteryx+_Jeholornis_ clade (and what this clade would be called). (The name Archaeopterygidae is available, but as defined by Sereno (2005) this uses _Passer_ as a specifier - as do many definitions). Interestingly, Turner &c opt for the name _Jeholornis_ over _Shenzhouraptor_. (For one perspective on why _Jeholornis_ might qualify as the senior synonym of _Shenzhouraptor_, see http://dml.cmnh.org/2006Apr/msg00228.html).

Turner et al. include Apsaravis and Yixianornis in addition to the more basal Confuciusornis and Sapeornis in their analysis. Of course the TWG matrix wasn't designed to determine relationships within Avialae, so any structure within that clade is fortuitous.


Turner et al. don't necessarily include Shenzhouraptor in their Jeholornis OTU. It's hard to tell.

Also, _Rinchenia_ is changed back to _Oviraptor mongoliensis_ in the phylogeny. I don't know if this is a nomenclatural decison (the authors aren't certain if it is a validly publsihed name) or a phylogenetic decision (_philoceratops_ and _mongoliensis_ are recovered as sister taxa).

Much like Avialae, the TWG matrix was never designed to find relationships within Oviraptoridae.


I noted that the authors didn't code Mahakala correctly for several characters, even when they noted the correct coding in the text! Notably, the non-enlarged otosphenoidal crest, slightly curved frontal margin of the supratemporal fossa and two-headed quadrate which contacts the braincase.

Also odd is that Daspletosaurus was added, but only coded for cranial characters.

Mickey Mortimer