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Re: Eosinopteryx, new paravian from China



> Pascal Godefroit, Helena Demuynck, Gareth Dyke, Dongyu Hu, François
> Escuillié        & Philippe Claeys (2013)
> Reduced plumage and flight ability of a new Jurassic paravian theropod
> from China
> Nature Communications 4, Article number: 1394
> doi:10.1038/ncomms2389
> http://www.nature.com/ncomms/journal/v4/n1/full/ncomms2389.html


The relative size of the pedal phalanges of _Eosinopteryx_ (especially
short penultimate phalanges) and the short, poorly recurved pedal
unguals are cited in support of a "ground dwelling, ‘cursorial’
mode-of-life as in many living birds".


However, the situation is a bit more complicated than that.
_Deinonychus_ has elongate penultimate phalanges and highly recurved
unguals.  But nobody would accuse _Deinonychus_ of being arboreal (at
least not to its face).  These pedal characters of _Deinonychus_ are
associated with improved grasping ability by the pes - and no doubt
related to predation.


So it may mean that the feet of _Eosinopteryx_ were used less for
grabbing and killing things than dromaeosaurids, and even other
troodontids.  This might be connected with the rather short snout of
_Eosinopteryx_.  There's quite a few things about _Eosinopteryx_ that
remind me of basal oviraptorosaurs like _Caudipteryx_.






Cheers

Tim