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RE: Orkoraptor and Crichtonsaurus benxiensis

Eike wrote:

> Aha. My first thought was that _Gollumjapyx smeagol_,
> _Pericompsus bilbo_ and _Gandalfus puia_ had been
> given a dino for company.

There's actually a shark genus named _Gollum_ (common name is the slender 
It's not at all nefarious or malignant.

Nick Pharris wrote:

> My favorite line from Feduccia et al.:
> "The presence or absence of serrations on the teeth
> varies widely among related groups, but the avian
> character of maniraptorian teeth is demonstrated
> by the waisted crown and expanded root seen in at
> least some examples."
> Some maniraptor teeth are like bird teeth in one particular way.  
> Therefore, all maniraptor teeth are bird teeth.  Brilliant!

There were quite a few clangers in Feduccia et al.'s response.  The last 
paragraph is a bewtie.
"Our phylogeny is only slightly modified from that
of Nick Longrich, as we noted (Feduccia et al. 2007),
by moving _Archaeopteryx_ to a basal position with
respect to microraptors and other Mesozoic birds,
a position that conforms to its temporal occurrence.
This view of superficially theropod-like Mesozoic
birds being derivatives of the early avian radiation
is not new to us, but was suggested in some form or
other as early as 1911 by O. Abel, and most recently
by Gregory Paul, George Olshevsky, Stephen
Czerkas, A.F., L.M., and others. By our interpretation
of the current evidence, birds are monophyletic
and are nicely defined by their unique possession
of feathers."

Apparently "moving _Archaeopteryx_ to a basal position with respect to 
microraptors" qualifies 
as only a sight modification.  Sure, it's only one node in the cladogram; but 
it's a little 
disingenuous, considering that Feduccia et al. are trying to argue that 
microraptorans are birds 
when the cladogram they are "borrowing" explicitly puts microraptorans outside 
of the Aves (i.e., 
the least inclusive clade containing _Archaeopteryx_ and modern birds).

And I'm not sure that Gregory Paul would appreciated his name being used in the 
above context...

Overall, though, the article does strike a rather conciliatory tone toward the 



> ****************************************************************
> Nicholas J. Pharris
> Department of Linguistics
> Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
> Deutscher Platz 6       phone:    +49 (0) 341 35 50 304
> D-04103 Leipzig         fax:      +49 (0) 341 35 50 333
> Germany                 e-mail:   nicholas_pharris@eva.mpg.de
> ****************************************************************
> "Creativity is the sudden cessation of stupidity."
>      --Edwin H. Land

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