A quick comment on Tianyulong

I’ve been knocking around the idea of this post for a while and was never quite sure if it was entirely appropriate, but I think it’s OK. I hesitated becuase I didn’t want to be jumping someone’s work, but not only do I not think I am (i.e. I don’t know of people working on this) but more importantly, what I’m really doing is reproducing and spreading something that is already out there.

Anyway, enough with the fluffy preamble, the point is that certain people on the internet decided long ago that Tinayulong (that ornithischian covered in elongate fibers of some form or another) was probably a fake. Either the plumes were added on or tail was from a dromaeosaur or whatever.

No matter that the people working on this material had endless experience of dinosaurs from Liaoning, included experts in both dromaeosaurs and ornithischians, and they had been involved in uncovering the Archaeoraptor mess. Nope, this was a fake, or an error, or something.

If that wasthe case, then people have been really busy beacuse there are more specimens out there. I’ve known about this for ages and even seen the material in question, but it seemed inappropriate to talk about as long as this was behind closed doors. However, a recent edition of  a Chinese magazine included photos of a specimen that was not the holotype. Since this is already out there in the public sphere (if in a fairly obscure location) I don’t think I’m interfering with ongoing research by letting it be known.

Tianyulong is a lot of things, not least it’s ‘annoying’ in muddying the previously clear waters of feather evolution (just like the recent Concavenator) but it’s not a fake or forgery or accident. Multiple specimens really help clear up doubts like this since aside from the thing not looking like a fake and being consistent with being a single, coherent specimen, the idea that multiple different people could fake multiple different specimens from independent sources and get the exact same anatomy and structre there is highly implausible at best.

15 Responses to “A quick comment on Tianyulong”

  1. 1 Jack 14/09/2010 at 2:20 pm

    David, could you post a link where we can see this referred specimen?

    • 2 David Hone 14/09/2010 at 2:30 pm

      I would have done if I had it, which I don’t. It’s in a magazine not online.

      I should note that it was a special dinosaur issue and the photo was provided by a researcher, so it’s a valid museum specimen.

  2. 3 Jerry D. Harris 14/09/2010 at 3:22 pm

    Hey Dave! Thanks for the heads-up for that magazine — I’ve just subscribed ‘cuz it looks fabulous! I don’t see a special dinosaur issue listed on their back issue page — do you have a more specific reference? I’d love to snag a copy. Thanks!

    • 4 David Hone 14/09/2010 at 3:31 pm

      I was looking for it, it came out only in May so should be up there. It was wall to wall dinosaurs with profiles of Xu Xing, You Hailu, Dong Zhiming and the rest. Not sure whey it’s not visible on their site.

      It actually came out while I was in the field so I was lucky to grab a back issue when I got back to Beijing just before Flugsaurier started. Others were after them, but were hard to find. Sadly I left my copy in my crates of stuff in the old office so don’t even have it to hand.

      The relevant cover is here: http://image.dili360.com/cng/cng/ml/2010/6_101241715_20100602143838.jpg

  3. 5 Zach Miller 14/09/2010 at 8:05 pm

    Bah. Don’t come at me with your “facts” and “evidence” that challenge my long-held presumptions about evolution and mainstream paleontologists in general, Dave! Com’on, man, what are you trying to pull? Actual SCIENCE? Preposterous!

    • 6 mattvr 15/09/2010 at 8:29 am

      You’d be surprised how that exact attitude is promoted by some who consider reality completely subjective.

  4. 7 G. I. Deneva 06/10/2010 at 6:13 pm

    Hi, my request might sound a bit strange but anyway. I would like to use articles from your site, translate them and publish on my own Dino Site of cos with link-back to you. As my site is purely non-commercial i only can ask to get the rights for the translations for free. Is that OK with u? I couldn’t find any place to put my question…

    • 8 David Hone 06/10/2010 at 6:28 pm

      That would be fine as long as I’m credited and you don’t take the images but just translate the text.

      IOnce you have a few of them up, please let me know and I can set up a standing link to you in the sidebar.

      • 9 G. I. Deneva 06/10/2010 at 10:03 pm

        Thank you! Here is a link to the first article i’ve done. Let me know if everything is ok.

        About linking my site, well you know it’s all in Bulgarian and i’m not a real biologist or a paleontologist, i’m actually a meteorologist. I started this project cos there wasn’t anything like that in bulgarian at all – profesional or amateur. Some friends came along to help but we are all just fan. What i’m saying we are not worthed being linked in a serious blog like yours.

  5. 12 G. I. Deneva 07/10/2010 at 2:45 pm

    :-))))))) Bulgarian

  1. 1 Дейвид Хон за Тайнюлонга Trackback on 06/10/2010 at 9:51 pm
  2. 2 The filamented Psittacosaurus | Dave Hone's Archosaur Musings Trackback on 13/11/2013 at 1:29 pm
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