STL Science Center

STL Science Center

30 October 2012

Two Important Papers

Today I can present to you, the audience, not the entire two papers of the most importance to Chirostenotes within the last fifty years, but at least their abstracts. Gilmore's paper naming and describing the hands of Chirostenotes is not online anywhere that I have found, the papers by Currie and Russell and Sues are online, at least partially, and of the utmost importance to the Chirostenotes that we know and love today. Gilmore's paper was, of course, the arguably most important paper, because it named and described a new species, but these two papers reformed Gilmore's, and others, discoveries and completed the picture of Chirostenotes.

Currie and Russell in 1988 renamed some specimens, like Parks' 1933 specimens, as a new species of Elmisaurus, a close relative of Chirostenotes, replacing its designation within the Ornithomimus genus, and redescribing its family and order classifications as well. Currie and Russell pointed out the markedly dromaeosaurian characteristics of Chirostenotes and, particularly, its relationship to Oviraptorids, namely Oviraptor itself. Chirostenotes, being the oldest name of the material that Currie and Russell linked together is still what we use today, but without that 1988 publication, we would also still have nearly a dozen other disorganized sets of remains attributed to different animals.

In 1997, though, Hans Dieter Sues came along with a new set of research and published his theories and results on Chirostenotes. Building off of other ideas and discoveries about Chirostenotes, Sues looks at a new partial skeleton consisting of partial skull elements, pelvic girdle, and vertebral elements from all regions of the spine. Sues also refers Parks' 1933 material to Chirostenotes, instead of Elmisaurus, as well as Caenagnathus (RM Sternberg, 1940, described jaw elements and attributed them to Caenagnathus, a small bird) to Chirostenotes. Sues also went on to claim that Chirostenotes revealed important phylogenetic relationships between Oviraptorids and Therizinosaurs as well as new characteristics which would refer Caenagnathids to Oviraptorosaurids. His work was an exhaustive study that I can actually read (as can anyone with JSTOR or JVP access), and so may not contain so much more information as it appears compared to the 1988 study above, but may be of equal amounts of information. Regardless, both studies and publications were of extreme importance in the study of Oviraptorids as well as Chirostenotes itself at a generic level.

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