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Paleocene dinosaurs



My understanding of the state of research on Paleocene dinos is that
there are a lot of potential problems with the discoveries reported
so far and that a lot of work needs to be done with the ones that
have been described in GSA talks to convince researchers otherwise.
With the large number of studies of the Paleocene already done with
no dinos, the null hypothesis is really that there are no dinos there
and researchers have to demonstrate their finds hold up to taphonomic
biological and stratigraphic scrutiny. The stuff being talked about in
China lately may do that but the gut work is not out and discussed much
as yet. I would be delighted to see a find of Paleocene dinos but understand
the taphonomic problems in demonstrating them based on a few disarticulated
pieces. The Chinese stuff may end up being the example of more articulated
stuff in well-dated strata coexistent with Paleocene terretrial faunas
but I have not seen anything to convince me yet. It is also important to
note that small numbers of dino survivors in a restricted geographical
area doesn't really argue against any of the different extinction
hypotheses. I'd be surprised if no dinos made it into the Paleocene
for at least 25-50K years. I'd be real happy to see an articulated
Paleocene theropod with a big-ol-mammal in its jaws doing what comes
naturally. Shame there weren't any Paleocene lawyers to eat. So I
believe we're all waiting to be convinced and would be happy to be so.

Ralph Chapman, NMNH