Dromaeosaur tails again

Since I have all these nice photos of Sinornithosaurus that show off some nice bits of anatomy, I’m trying to make the best of them. A while back I made mention of the enormous zygapophyses of dromaeosaur tails that lead to their rather rod-like appearance. The photo I had to hand to illustrate this was not bad but was far from great. This one is a bit better and shows a block of vertebral centra (lying in the middle) with the various zygapophyeses and chevrons lying wither side extending alongside.

8 Responses to “Dromaeosaur tails again”

  1. 1 Andrea Cau 24/02/2010 at 4:47 pm

    Are the dark structures below the caudal vertebrae tail feathers?

    • 2 David Hone 25/02/2010 at 8:03 am

      Feathers, yes. Tail feathers, not so sure. As you’ve probably seen from the whole slab or drawings of it, the skeleton is disarticualted mostly and all a bit mixed up. As such it’s hard to say if those are the original feathers from the tail, or merely a patch of feathers the bones have come to rest on. Given how the feathers seem to articulate with bones (you may have seen something on this recently 😉 ) I suspect they are the tail feathers, but it’s hard to be sure.

      • 3 David Hone 25/02/2010 at 9:22 pm

        Actully I’ve had another look and I do think they are tail feathers. On balance the feathers all seem to be associated with bones and none are separate or isolated or lie in unexpected places. As a result, I uspect that although the bones have disassociated, the feathers seem associated with the bones. This would have been a good example to include on the Microraptor paper as a confriming example. Oh well, a bit late now…

  2. 4 Bruce J. Mohn 25/02/2010 at 2:32 am


    Is zygopophoses an alternate spelling for zygapophoses? Not trying to be snarky here, but I’ve always seen it spelled with an “a” and a search of Google scholar doesn’t find it with an “o”.


  3. 6 Mickey Mortimer 25/02/2010 at 7:41 pm

    That’s an interesting photo, since it shows how short the proximalmost articulated caudal centrum is. That indicates the section is at the base of the tail and the zygapophyseal tips on the far right side are those of the proximalmost caudals to possess specialized elongate ones. None of that is clear from the original description.

  1. 1 Theropod teeth again « Dave Hone’s Archosaur Musings Trackback on 26/02/2010 at 8:30 am
  2. 2 Chevrons « Dave Hone's Archosaur Musings Trackback on 28/11/2010 at 10:53 pm
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