Friday, December 3, 2010

New Theropod Database Update!

This has been a long time coming.  The huge news this time is a brand new section- Ex-Theropod Taxa, which will cover all taxa ever thought to be theropods. I'm excited about writing this section because I'm not familiar with most of the taxa until I research them, so I'm learning quite a bit. Far too often, ex-dinosaurs get ignored by both dinosaur experts and whatever group they end up belonging to, leading to only a superficial knowledge of what they are. Ex-theropods which I've previously covered on my blog include Priscavolucris, the Kota bird, Bathygnathus, "Yezosaurus", Rachitrema, Actiosaurus, Patricosaurus, Megalancosaurus, Longisquama, Gwyneddosaurus, Ankistrodon, "Likhoelesaurus", Tanystrosuchus and Arctosaurus. Ex-theropods which have significant entries that haven't made it to the blog includde Coelurosauravus, Spinosuchus, Pneumatoarthrus, Tanystropheus, Teratosaurus? bengalensis, Avalonianus, "Cinizasaurus", "Cryptoraptor", Sinosaurus? "shawanensis", Trialestes, Sinocoelurus, Teyuwasu, Eucoelophysis, Apatodon, "Troodon" isfarensis, Gresslyosaurus, Eucnemesaurus and Gryponyx. I also moved herrerasaurids and other controversial basal saurischians to the ex-theropod page, since it more accurately reflects their position. Among these, Sanjuansaurus was added, and Eoraptor and Herrerasaurus both got huge makeovers.

Okay, but what about theropods themselves? Tawa was finally added, as was Kayentavenator, and the Coelophysis entry was updated. "Coelurosaurus", "Carnosaurus", Concavenator, Zuolong, Machairasaurus, Balaur, Bauxitornis, "Confuciusornis" jianchengensis, Intiornis, Palintropus, Anatalavis, Neogaeornis, Polarornis and Cimolopteryx were added. Rahiolisaurus was updated, and Cathayornis was separated from Sinornis after O'Connor and Dyke (2010).

Finally, I added the evaluations of Perez-Moreno et al.'s (1994) analysis of Pelecanimimus' position, Chiappe and Calvo's (1994) major analysis of bird phylogeny and the massive effort that is Holtz's (1994) famed theropod analysis.

What's in store for the future? Adding Ezcurra's (2010) and Nesbitt et al.'s (2010) data to the saurischian supermatrix which will let me add the character evidence for conflicting hypotheses to the entries of herrerasaurids, Eoraptor, Chindesaurus, Guaibasaurus, etc., evaluating some more modern analyses like Smith et al. (2007) or the TWG matrix, adding more archosaurian ex-theropods, making the cladogram reflect the data better when competing topologies are poorly distinguished by parsimony, and fleshing out entries to include more commentary and characters (both for diagnoses and for alternative placements for taxa).

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