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Martharaptor greenriverensis



  OK, I can get behind this name. It's a bit avant -- as it were -- but the 
structure of the name shouldn't mean too much.

  In honor of Martha Hayden -- whose name I can't help but feel self-conscious 
about -- this guy is represented by a lot of (honestly, now) crap. There's a 
few gems among the pieces, comprised so much of fragments the authors didn't 
even list the material in the holotype section. That said, the best piece in 
the assembly is the scapula, which is nearly complete, and large portions of 
the manus and pes in phalangeal form. The authors ascribe it to 
*Therizinosauroidea* on the basis of a distal scapular expansion, subequal 
manual unguals mdII-3 and mdIII-4, and an enlarged, trenchant or "hooked" 
hallucial ungual pdI-2. (Senter et al., 2012).

  Andrea Cau differs, while coding this taxon for his Megamatrix 
(http://theropoda.blogspot.com/2012/08/lenigmatico-martharaptor-ed-il-famelico.html),
 instead recovering it in *Paraves*. It should be noted that both Senter et al. 
and Andrea are wary of the phylogenetic placement for this taxon, owning 
heavily to incompleteness: aside from unguals, there is not a single complete 
bone in the sample except for possibly the first metacarpal. Is it a 
therizinosauroid? Who knows. The little girl differs from other Cedar Mountain 
Fm. taxa, and as such cannot easily be referred to other taxa so easily. It can 
be differentiated on a suite of characters, but material brevity prevents 
distinct autapomorphies.

  It is unfortunate that there is no cranial material. Huge manual and pedal 
unguals are pretty heavily skewed toward therizinosauroids, particular when 
combined or considering only the pedal unguals, but in heeding Cau's matrix, 
one should consider *Balaur bondoc*. But for me, at this point, the distal 
scapular expansion and narrow, "ventrally" (depends on scapular long-axis 
rotation and orientation of the scapula to the body wall) oriented humeral 
glenoid with high and sharply skewed acromion eminence suggests that it should 
not easily fit within the *Oviraptorosauria* + *Paraves* clade. Hopefully, more 
of this intriguing animal can be found. 

Cheers,

Jaime A. Headden
The Bite Stuff (site v2)
http://qilong.wordpress.com/

"Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969)


"Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a
different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race
has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or
his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion 
Backs)