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RE: Wulatelong, new oviraptorid from Upper Cretaceous of China (free pdf)

Okay, this one's weird. I would like to note that the second toe is preserved 
in an "extended" position, regardless of any morphology that suggests it can 
"extend." The second toe ungual is fairly large, but otherwise morphologically 
similar to other oviraptorid pes claws. Would have to describe the curvature 
morphometrically to assess whether it is more strongly curved.

The authors make a point of distinguishing this from the other two specimens of 
oviraptorosaur from Bayan Madahu, the first nesting dinosaur IVPP V9608 and 
*Machairasaurus leptonychus*, on the morphology and curvature of the manual 

Also, none of the cranial autapomorphies appear to be diagnostic:

1. the position of the external narial fenestra is ventrally displaced in 
*Nemegtomaia barsboldi*, MPC-D 100/42, and *Citipati osmolksae*. This is also 
true for skulls I've referred to as the "Mitrata" oviraptorid: 
http://qilong.wordpress.com/2011/06/23/the-mitrata-oviraptorid/ This 
determination is made on the basis of drawing a line along the suboribital, 
rostral ramus of the jugal forward; in these taxa, this line intersects near or 
at the ventral margin of the external narial fenestra, and it appears this may 
be the case in *Rinchenia mongoliensis*, though the cranial morphology there is 
obscured by extensive damage to that region. 

2. The caudal extent of the maxilla extends no further caudally than it does in 
any other oviraptorid, and all oviraptorids have a flated, platelike structure 
to this ramus where it contacts the overlying jugal.

3. There is virtually no distinction between the anterodorsal process of the 
surangular (which contacts the dentary dorsal to the external mandibular 
fenestra) and several other oviraptorids. A constriction exists in this process 
in *Citipati osmolskae*, *Khaan mckennai*, ZPAL MgD-I/95 (often presumed to 
belong to "Ingenia" *yanshini*). The dentary is well-separated from the 
constriction in ZPAL MgD-I/95, but not other "citipatiine" oviraptorids with 
the possible exception of *Nemegtomaia barsboldi* 
caly recovered in analyses as an "ingeniine."

In short, I wonder about justification for new taxonomy, and other variations 
among the postcrania (a nearly complete skeleton missing the neck, ribs, and 
with badly preserved vertebrae) which may or may not be ontogenetic.


  Jaime A. Headden
  The Bite Stuff (site v2)

"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 

> Date: Tue, 7 May 2013 10:21:45 -0700
> From: bcreisler@gmail.com
> To: dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject: Wulatelong, new oviraptorid from Upper Cretaceous of China (free pdf)
> From: Ben Creisler
> bcreisler@gmail.com
> A new open access paper in Vertebrata PalAsiatica:
> XU Xing, TAN Qing-Wei, WANG Shuo, Corwin SULLIVAN, David W. E. HONE,
> HAN Feng-Lu, MA Qing-Yu, TAN Lin & XIAO Dong (2013)
> A new oviraptorid from the Upper Cretaceous of Nei Mongol, China, and
> its stratigraphic implications.
> Vertebrata PalAsiatica 51(2): 85-101
> http://www.ivpp.cas.cn/cbw/gjzdwxb/xbwzxz/201305/P020130507385115746165.pdf
> Here we report a new oviraptorid taxon based on a specimen collected
> from the Upper Cretaceous Wulansuhai Formation of Bayan Mandahu,
> Linhe, China. This new taxon is distinguishable from other oviraptorid
> species by the following unique features: the ventral extremity of the
> large and elongate external naris is located below the mid-height of
> the premaxilla, the strap-like jugal process of the maxilla extends
> well beyond the preorbital bar posteriorly and overlaps the jugal, and
> the anterodorsal process of the surangular is basally constricted in
> lateral view. Although diagnosable as an oviraptorid, this new taxon
> possesses several ples
> but reminiscent of more basal oviraptorosaurs, suggesting a
> relatively basal position within the Oviraptoridae. The infratemporal
> fenestra has a narrow dorsal border, the anterior and posterior
> processes of the lacrimal are relatively long, the ectopterygoid is
> located relatively posteriorly, the external mandibular fenestra is
> comparatively posterior in position, the scapula is relatively short
> and slender, the pubic peduncle of the ilium is both more ventrally
> extended and much wider anteroposteriorly than the ischial peduncle,
> the ischium is relatively short, and metatarsal III is compressed
> between metatarsals II and IV. This taxon, Wulatelong gobiensis gen.
> et sp. nov., is therefore inferred to be a basal oviraptorid. A
> preliminary analysis of the Bayan Mandahu dinosaur fauna supports the
> view that the Bayan Mandahu strata are the oldest Upper Cretaceous red
> beds exposed in the Gobi area of the Mongolian Plateau.