[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

ORNITHOLOGISTS.. THINK?



> >Whilst browsing a local bookstore a while back, I saw a large ornithology
> >textbook.  Wondering the same thing as Amando, I quickly looked to the
> >chapter on avian evolution.  I scanned the entire chapter (granted, it was
a
> >very cursory scan - I was looking for a certain word...) and NOWHERE was the
> >word "dinosaur" mentioned!  The gist of the chapter was that birds evolved
> >from reptiles.  They mentioned stuff about archosaurs, but never dinosaurs.
> > Curious, isn't it...?
> 
> Just how recent a book was this?                (G.O.)
 
That's probably irrelevant. I'm reckoning that Feduccia's new book will mention
'dinosaur', at most, a couple of times, and will no way go into maniraptoran
phylogenies etc. Old school ornithologists seem to hate dinosaurs, and assign
them to the rank of irrelevant reptiles - why, who knows? That's the only reason
there's been so much rubbish published on crocodiles and other pseudosuchians
as bird ancestors, not because the guys really have a *good* case (i.e. better
than a theropod link). 

This will change, however. I note that a number of popular ornithologists today
are pro-dinosaur, and, like most of us, don't see a great bird-dinosaur gulf,
which is the way it should be (note irrelevance of BAAM vs BCF to this). 

Several live nature shows over here, including one featuring hatchling
kingfishers (Bill Oddie), the other baby gannets (Chris Packham), have pointed
out the superficial resemblance between the babies and little dinosaurs, which
promotes birdness of Dinosauria to an ornithological audience. Last year I took
a course on Birds as Pests, and was surprised on entering the lecture theatre
to be confronted by Greg Paul's running _Daspletosaurus_ projected up onto the
back screen. The lecturer started with 'Birds, basically, are dinosaurs'. Things
aren't quite all rosy, however. Returning home via our tidal River Itchen last
year, I was fortunate enough to get talking to a fellow while we both watched
a Great northern diver (interacting with Red-breasted merganser actually, and
with a cormorant in there too!). I managed to get dinosaurs into the
conversation.. he didn't see what that had to do with bird-watching so I said
"Well, birds _are_... dinosaurs". He left without a word.

So what we need are ornithologists who actually _know_ something about
theropods, and perhaps even look at their fossils.

"What the hell's going on?"  "Oh you must help me - - there was a fire, so much
smoke I couldn't breathe!"

DARREN NAISH