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Re: Raptorex, the new tiny tyrant

2009/9/17 Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. <tholtz@umd.edu>:
> http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2009/09/17/2072603.aspx
> http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-090917little-t-rex,0,2156860.story
> http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/discoveries/2009-09-17-mini-tyrannosaur
> us-rex_N.htm
> (note: they mean "Triceratops" where they say "Stegosaurus"...)
> http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/47453/description/Tiny_T.rex%E2%8
> 0%93like_tyrants

A very cool beast (for a stinkin' theropod), but the articles linked
here raise more questions than they answer about the provenance and
eventual fate of the specimen.  I've not read the paper (no
subscription) so it may be that it addresses these issues, but it does
seem from the popular coverage that the fossil must have been smuggled
at some point and it's not clear that there has been or will be any
attempt to trace the perpetrator.  And while the commitment to return
the specimen to China is laudable, it does have the unfortunate
side-effect that the traditional wait for the follow-up paper that
describes this thing properly may well be indefinite.  It's also going
to make it harder for other workers to see the material to confirm or
contradict Sereno et al.'s findings.  The whole thing is unpleasantly

I'd welcome thoughts especially from people who've actually seen the paper.