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A few notes...
Let me just say that where e-mail comes from is irrelevant, judge it
by what is said and, consequently, the person who said it. Nuff said...
Regarding Global extinction, it is not an strange phrase but one used
by many paleobiologists contra to localized extinction, etc. In some
basins or regions taxa go extinct but they may not go extinct globally
and hence end the line for that taxon. When a taxon "disappears", that
is goes extinct in all the basins we have data for, it sometimes pops
back up a few million years later - it re-radiates. thisis called a
Lazarus Taxon (check spelling please!). When it looks like a Lazarus
Taxon but is actually a very convergent form (a cheap imitation) it is
now officially deemed an Elvis Taxon (no kidding - Erwin & Droser in Palaios
in 1994, I think). Global and Local extinction is used a lot in many
circles and I've been known to throw it out myself.
Regarding Bakker, I am looking forward to reading Red Raptor and won't
mind if it is derivative of some other novel - most novels are. Heinlein's
Starship Troopers generated a whole boatload of novels in its slant,
many great (and some, like The Forever War by Haldeman, direct answers
and disagreements with it). I very very frequently disagree with Bakker
but would encourage everyone to give it a try. He spins lots of stories
with great show-business style and probably has done some fun things in RR.
Now, with that said, it is irresponsible for someone to represent a relatively
unsupported theory as fact to the general public. Some context must
be given. This macho form of science - huffing it out because it's your
theory without pointing out the flaws and lack of data - is not good for
anyone, especially the jerk doing it. Now, I did not hear Bakker's talk
(or e-mail thing) so I won't say he was doing this but all of us who do
science have to be better at showing the public how it's done, including
the negative side to theories. The media are bad about presenting these
but we shouldn;t be. The optimum way to present a line of reasoning is
with both the support for and problems with up front and let the scientific
and non-scientific community use their head (I'm lost in making subject
and verb agree by now).
Anyway, let's give RR a chance and see how we like it, as well as Crichton's
Lost World in late September and Dinotopia II (I'm not just adding this
latter because I have an island named after me now - I liked it a lot.)
When you see Bakker, see what he says and try to make him give the ups and
downs. If he doesn't, well, the hell with him. If he does, good for him.
I'd like to see him huncker down and get some more straight VP out for us
to use/feast on. I'd also like to see me do the same but too much other
stuff to do (but do have 2 chapters in press, 1 Lethaia paper on trilos
in press, and am trying to finish up a bunch more).
Ta Ta for now, Ralph Chapman, NMNH