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propaganda of the majority



In an earlier posting, a few of you may have interpreted my comment about
the majority of workers (and evidence) supporting the theropod origin of
birds as a "propaganda of the majority".  Of course I've always lived by the
motto "ideas by merit, not by source".  Additionally, like many Americans, I
like to root for the underdog.

Nevertheless, the vast body of evidence supports the dinosaurian
hypothesis.  Martin and his crew have not adequately demonstrated their
crocodylomorph-origin by cladistic method: it would be good if they did,
since I would be willing to be convinced by superior data.

Luis Chiappe has already run the test that should be done (i.e., include
both crocodylomorphs, dinosaurs, primitive birds, and advanced birds) in the
same analysis.  His results supported the theropod origin.

Incidentally, it seems from various peoples replies that by signature is not
being included with my postings.  I include an address below.

Dr. Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Vertebrate Paleontologist
US Geological Survey    and     University of Maryland
MS 970 National Center          Department of Geology
Reston, VA  22092               College Park, MD  20472

And to explain some of my views, I was John Ostrom's last offical Ph.D.
student before his retirement.  I can tell those of you in the cyberaudience
from personal experience, the similarities between Archaeopteryx, Sinornis,
and other primitive birds on the one hand, and advanced maniraptoran
coelurosaurs (in particular, velociraptorine dromaeosaurids like Deinonychus
and Velociraptor) are amazing.  A quick note, my support for the placement of
Archaeopteryx among the various theropod lineages will be in print at the
end of the year in the Journal of Paleontology. I would be interested in
hearing from those who have evidence which conflicts with the theropod
origin and/or supports the crocodylomorph origin: it might be informative
for those on the net who aren't professional evolutionary biologists to see
how systematics works.