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RE: Geographic Distribution of Maniraptora



> From: owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu [mailto:owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu] 
> On Behalf Of Lonnie Allen Matson
>
> I have just recently been approved as an intern in the 
> Paleontology Lab at the Dallas Museum of Natural History (now 
> the Nature and Science Museum). As well, Dr. David Burnham 
> has agreed to mentor me, and assist in developing a project, 
> which I hope will become my thesis, for Graduate School.

Good luck.

> I am still in the early research stages as of yet, but what I 
> need assistance on is the following. Are there any studies 
> available on the geographic distribution of all 
> Maniraptorans, not just the feathered specimens? I just 
> recently read about Buitreraptor, and the article mentioned 
> the possibility of two very distinct groups, one from 
> Gondwanaland, the other from Laurasia. When I see all these 
> proposed phylogenetic tree's I often wonder where the 
> specimens used for the study are from. I start to wonder how 
> much of these close relationships are attributable to 
> convergence between the two different groups.
>
> I have searched long and hard, and as of yet, had no luck 
> finding such a study. Again, I may have overlooked it.

I know of no such specific study, and am obviously interested in such
matters (i.e., check out the Holtz, Chapman & Lamanna chapter of Dinosauria
II).

So start working on your own study. The first line of data that you'll need
is Weishampel et al.'s Dinosaur Distribution chapter of Dinosauria II.
However, there have been considerable new discoveries of maniraptorans (all
major clades: therizinosaurs, oviraptorosaurs, alvarezsaurids, troodontids,
dromaeosaurids, and avialians) since the DinoII database was put together,
so you'll have a big literature search to do. (Note that the archives of the
Dinosaur Mailing List are pretty good at reporting new papers.)

> As well, are there any good maps of the Triassic, Jurassic 
> and Cretaceous one could purchase? I want to pin these 
> "raptors" on the map, to get a visual sense of what was going 
> on and how they were distributed. I would need them large, 
> like a map so to speak. It would be used for a presentation.

Purchase? No. Unfortunately you will have to get them for free... :-)

In my opinion, the best of all current published paleogeographic
reconstructions are those from Ron Blakey (Northern Arizona University),
available online from his website at:
http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~rcb7/globaltext.html and
http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~rcb7/globaltext2.html

The most useful ones are probably the Mollwide Projections:
http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~rcb7/mollglobe.html

Some things to note:
* Better to use shorter time slices than whole Periods. After all, the
Cretaceous is far longer than the entire Cenozoic Era.
* Paleoreconstructions are just hypotheses, and so are subject to change and
uncertainty. Other paleogeographers (Smith's team; Scotese; etc.) have
differneces in their interpretation of continental positions and
interconnections at these intervals.

Good luck!

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Email: tholtz@umd.edu   Phone: 301-405-4084
Office: Centreville 1216                        
Senior Lecturer, Vertebrate Paleontology
Dept. of Geology, University of Maryland
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholtz/
Fax: 301-314-9661               

Faculty Director, Earth, Life & Time Program, College Park Scholars
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~jmerck/eltsite/
Fax: 301-405-0796

Mailing Address:        Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                        Department of Geology
                        Building 237, Room 1117
                        University of Maryland
                        College Park, MD 20742 USA