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Re: SVP DINO-PRESENTATIONS: _Stegosaurus_ vs. _Sinosauropteryx_

At 11:30 AM 10/17/97 -0700, Ralph Miller III wrote:

>Czerkas' graphic comparison of the dentary of _Stegosaurus_ and that of a
>modern turtle (employed to illustrate why the restoration of stegosaurs
>with cheeks wasn't supported by stegosaur jaw anatomy) presented a
>persuasive argument.

An important part of his argument relied on him sectioning a cast of an
incompletely prepared skull of _Stegosaurus_, and looking at what was going
on on the inside.  As many of us said afterwards, this is not a very
persuasive way at looking at the features you'd want to see (namely, what is
REALLY going on on the inside of the jaws...).

>On _Sinosauropteryx_: I was most interested in Philip Currie's
>presentation, which revealed important new information on the three
>fossilized individuals which he examined personally on three trips to China
>in the past year.  Yes, you could say that he has a stake in the fossils
>revealing protofeathers (just look at the two furry _Sinosauropteryx_
>individuals on the cover of his _Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs_), but he
>presented valid preliminary evidence to back up his interpretation.

And observations, something that Jones et al. have not had opportunity to do

(Incidentally, I was present as both Ostrom and Wellnhofer congratulated
Currie on his talk: neither of those gentlemen have been too pleased with
the way the media have handled their famous visit and observation of the the
Chinese specimens.)

>Alan Brush has stated, the fibers do not show an anatomy comparable to
>modern feathers, but I believe that these structures may indicate a
>transitional stage unlike anything seen in extant birds.  Overall, the SVP
>attendees seemed to respond favorably to Philip Currie's brief presentation
>(I swear, he had to talk a mile a minute to pack it into the allotted

What, a fast talk at SVP?  Never... :-)  (Phil might be fast, but he still
has a ways to go before he can match me or Mary Schweitzer!).

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Vertebrate Paleontologist     Webpage: http://www.geol.umd.edu
Dept. of Geology              Email:th81@umail.umd.edu
University of Maryland        Phone:301-405-4084
College Park, MD  20742       Fax:  301-314-9661