It sometimes seems that there are more palaeontologists working on theropods (predatory dinosaurs and birds) than on any other group of vertebrates. But while phylogenetic schemes for Coelurosauria (tyrannosaurs, birds and kin) abound, the interelationships of basal theropods (ceratosaurs, megalosaurs, spinosaurs, allosaurs, etc.) have been in need of thorough study. In a major new analysis resulting from first-hand coding of most taxa, Oliver Rauhut has produced what will become a definitive work on basal theropod phylogeny.

Contrary to claims from some corners that theropod phylogeny is a mess, this work highlights the fact that a consensus has emerged. While Rauhut’s...

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