STL Science Center

STL Science Center

15 November 2012

Microvenator: Popularly Forgotten

Microvenator is a popular little dinosaur, unfortunately it is not as popular in the mainstream culture as it is within paleontology. In paleontology it is an important little animal that tells a lot, despite its small size and missing bones, about the dinosaurs which are nested before and after it in evolutionary terms. Microvenator sits in a wonderful little spot in its family tree right at the end of the Caenagnathid  branch but right at the start of the Oviraptorid branch. This relationship between the two, though it is not illustrated as a "for sure" link between the two, allows for a lot of recognition of characters from each subfamily within Microvenator's bones, which, in a way, makes it a sort of missing link between the two groups. A subsequent find of a nearly complete, or more complete, skeleton of Microvenator would have an enormous impact on the study of the animal itself as well as both the Caenagnathidae and the Oviraptorosauria. Let us hope that someday someone will find a nearly complete, maybe even a complete (I do not think we should hope for more, like a mummified find, though it would be remarkable and quite a boon)

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