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Re: A load of questions

> That was just a cute way of saying that its sacral ganglion was
> larger than its brain.  This is as true now as it was when you
> were young.  It is just that modern kids books are not quite so
> condescending, and are not quite so cutesy.

My mistake of expression: I had noticed that I haven't even been reading about
the ganglion anywhere - I just used the "cutesy" expression, but meant the

STill, I'm intrigued to hear that sauropods had such a "nerve-knot" as well.

> I *have* read the first half of Chatterjee's paper, and I am
> less than convinced.  Most of the evidence he adduces for
> Protoavis being a bird could equally well indicate it is a
> primitive terrestrial crocodilian  (the earliest crocodilians
> were terrestrial runners, not aquatic hunters).

I gather that, except for that specialist on bird fossils (L. Martin?) there
has been no peer review of the findings?

[in another response mail, someone said that Ostrom has done a short one]

> workers.  One little piece of the animal that wasn't too
> badly crushed looks to *me* like the ankle of a Ceratosaurian
> theropod dinosaur!

You have seen the finds themselves? Or photos of it?

> Now, given Chatterjee's poor track record in identifying
> the evolutionary relationships of the organisms he studies,

This sounds like Chatterjee is only good at finding fossils, but he should 
then immediately deliver them up for interpretation before he himself has a
go at it. :-)

> The "birds are dinosaurs" thing is the *same* as the birds are
> descended from dinosaurs model.  The reason for the treatment is
> that there is a school of taxonomy that insists that *all* descendants
> of a the most recent common ancestor be included in any taxon. Thus,
> by this rule, the Dinosauria must include *all* descendents of the
> first dinosaurs no matter how changed.  Therefore, *if* the birds
> are descended from dinosaurs they *are* dinosaurs.

Ah - that's another totally new one. Another new thing learned.

> are valid).  Thus, to me it does not follow that being descended
> from dinosaurs makes a bird a dinosaur.

The uncertainty of the experts. I wonder if I should just become a creationist
and live in complete, if narrow-minded security. It may be a lot easier.

> was also mentioned in the Dinosaur Society newsletter a few
> months ago].

OK, that's it... Mr Holmes, I'm calling the office in 30 minutes (that is
9am in NY, I hope somebodies in the office.)

> It is likely to be in Donald Glut's new book when it comes
> out next year, but I doubt you will see much before that.

I can't wait.. the idea of 1200+ pages on mesozoic life makes me slobber on
my keyboard.

> However, the actual common ancestor probably differed only in
> a few relatively inconspicuous ways, since the derived features
> in question are all very subtle (position and size of various
> bony processes and the like).

I understand that to mean that there is *no* and probably wasn't a true "first"
dinosaur. Sort of like there was no "missing link" in human evolution. Finds
will just show more or less reptilian vs. dinosaurian features, but nowhere
to draw the line. Am I wrong?

> [Hmm, I haven't gotten a newsletter in some time - are they just
> late, or has my membership run out on me?]

Didn't someone recently announce (Mr. Holmes?) that they have reorganized their
computers or database or something, and that delays resulted from it?

I wonder, because with me sitting here in Germany, I have an additional degree
of uncertainty due to the distance.

> If you have any questions about terminology or significance,
> ask, and I will try to clear the matter up.

Thanks for the offer! I will definitely follow that up, whenever I browse 
through my small but growing "mesozoic library" again - plus of course whenever
I am lost in the discussions on this group.


Mike Hoffmann - Internet Administrator, Siemens-Nixdorf AG, SNI AP 1133
INTERNET: Mike.Hoffmann@mch.sni.de
"... there are about 5000 people who are part of that commitee. These guys have
a hard time sorting out what day to meet, and whether to eat croissants or
doughnuts for breakfast - let alone how to define how all these complex layers
are going to be agreed upon." (Craig Burton in "Network World" on OSI (1987))