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‘Saurornitholestes’ robustus is a troodontid (Theropoda)



From: Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com

A new online paper:

David C. Evans, Derek William Larson, Thomas Michael Cullen & Robert M
Sullivan (2014)
‘Saurornitholestes’ robustus is a troodontid (Dinosauria: Theropoda).
Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences (advance online publication)
doi:  10.1139/cjes-2014-0073
http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/abs/10.1139/cjes-2014-0073#.U4yjc_ldXTo

The holotype of Saurornitholestes robustus (SMP VP-1955) from the
upper Kirtland Formation (De-na-zin Member), originally identified as
a dromaeosaurid, is here re-identified as an indeterminate troodontid
theropod. The frontal has no diagnostic dromaeosaurid characters, but
is shown to have several features unique to troodontids among
deinonychosaurs, including the shallow lateral wall defining the
fossae for the olfactory system, the exclusion of the supratemporal
fossa from the dorsal surface of the frontal, and a raised orbital
rim. The size and morphology of SMP VP-1955 is also consistent with
better-known troodontid material from the late Campanian of Alberta,
and, as preserved, the Kirtland specimen is indistinguishable from
comparable Alberta material. The revised identification of SMP VP-1955
provides the first non-dental skeletal record of a troodontid from the
Kirtland Formation, and a rare record of this clade from the
Kirtlandian land-vertebrate age.