Friday, December 11, 2009

Hey look, a new dinosaur!

Sometimes I discuss paleontology on this blog. It's rare, I know. However, today, I've been reading about an awesome new saurischian from New Mexico, from the same area that Vancleavea, Coelophysis and Effigia (among others) are found. This here is Tawa hallae, and it is described as occupying a position between herrerasaurids and neotheropods. Andrea Cau has an alternate, interesting opinion over at Theropoda. I haven't read the paper yet, but Bill Parker has, and he discusses its importance over at Chinleana. I urge you to read both, as the alternate hypotheses regarding the phylogenetic position of Tawa are fascinating. I'll have more to say once I've read the paper myself (hint hint, readers) and maybe drawn my own reconstruction.


Ian said...

This is the third blog on my roll that has discussed this find. Still, it's a pretty neat discovery. I'll admit I've been getting more and more interested in Triassic reptiles lately.

Andrea Cau said...

Honestly, I was a bit premature in exposing the "herrerasaur" hypothesis in my blog: the analysis I used lacked the characters linking Tawa and neotheropods. After entering these new characters (in ilium and cervical vertebrae) _Tawa_ results a stem-neotheropod.
At the same time, I confirm some of my conclusions: I consider herrerasaurid anatomy more derived and apomorphic than previously supposed: they are more than just "theropod archetypes", and _Tawa_ could be a more plausible neotheropod outgroup in future theropod phylogenies than the "abused" _Herrerasaurus_.