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Re: New Jeholornis species



Ben Creisler <bscreisler@yahoo.com> wrote:

> A new online paper--not sure if the publication date will be 2012. (I might 
> have suggested "palmacauda" or some such as the
> species name.)
>
> Jingmai K. O'Connor, Chengkai Sun, Xing Xu, Xiaolin Wang & Zhonghe Zhou 
> ("2011")
> A new species of Jeholornis with complete caudal integument.
> Historical Biology (advance online publication)
> DOI:10.1080/08912963.2011.552720
> http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08912963.2011.552720


I agree... "palmacauda" might have been preferable to "palmapenis".
(This reminds me of a proposed name for a Chinese sauropod,
"Megacervixosaurus", which was intended to mean "big neck lizard", but
could just as easily be translated as "big cervix lizard".)


On the matter of the feathered tail of _Jeholornis palmapenis_, the
authors refer to this new species having a "rectricial fan", as in
_Caudipteryx_ and _Microraptor_.  This is because in these taxa the
elongate pennaceous feathers (rectrices) are attached only to the end
of the tail.


However, this is a very loose usage of the term "rectricial fan",
which in modern birds refers to a special aerodynamic structure that
is associated with the pygostyle and worked by special muscles.  The
specialized rectricial fan in modern birds is much more advanced than
the terminal arrangement of rectrices in basal paravians, which is
more like the "rectricial frond" of _Archaeopteryx_.  The structure in
_J. palmapenis_ is not much more than a feather-duster, and O'Connor
&c suggest that its "rectricial fan" was used solely for display.  A
term like "rectricial bundle" or "rectricial clump" might be more
appropriate for the arrangement of terminal rectrices in _J.
palmapenis_ etc, rather than "rectricial fan" - a term that should
probably be limited to the highly refined aerodynamic tail-fan of
extant birds and fossil ornithuromorphs.


The paper also mentions a new genus of fossil fork-tailed ornithurine,
the name of which is still a nomen nudum, AFAIK - so I won't mention
here.





Cheers

Tim