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Re: New paper on fish fingers



David, I think [y]ou are trying to argue for the ribs + plates in *Odontochelys* based solely on their similar appearance. Note that the *Chinlechelys* authors made their allusion to independant ossification ONLY because they observed sutures between the elements. You have not even gone that far, but are inferring more based on [y]our observations.

Well, sure. I haven't seen the specimen.

(And take your keyboard every few weeks, hold it upside down, and beat the dust out.)

Note that n[eur]al plates in *Odontochelys* are apparent, distinct, and textured, while the ribs appear to have a unique morphology, which may or may not have anything to do with them being fused to plates. You have a LONG way to climb just to make a thesis regarding coossification in *Odontochelys*.

But the same holds the other way around. One can't claim *O.* has broadened ribs just because no sutures are visible. I am taking into account that the broadened part is not as thick mediolaterally as in *Eunotosaurus* and *Pumiliopareia*, where it apparently is as thick as the rest of the rib (I'll check that for *Eunotosaurus*), but much thinner -- it really looks like a plate lying of top of a rib. That only the neurals are sculptured just means that only the neurals were directly attached to extra-tough skin or scutes, which is perhaps not surprising in an aquatic animal.