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dem bones



Tom Holtz writes, in response to John Rafert:
"My take on the problem follows what Ken Carpenter said about six years 
ago at SVP: unless you get the ribs mounted correctly on the specimen, 
the rest of the question is moot.  Without the ribs mounted properly 
(and,
unfortunately, many museum mounts are incorrect), the pectoral girdle 
wont be in the correct position.  Without the pectoral girdle in the 
right place, the limbs wont be mounted in life postion.  Ugh!"

Now my question is why can't you tell how the bones ought to be 
connected? (Mind you, I am a student of the humanities working in what 
can perhaps be described as a social sciences organization, and who has 
no background in anatomy). Don't bones line up in one correct way? 
Couldn't you tell about the ribs from their curvature (or what is left 
after fossilization)? I realize that today's new dynamic dinosaurs are a 
departure from what most of us saw in museums as children, but it is my 
understanding that in order to make the bones fit the conception of 
dinosaurs as slow moving tail draggers, they were frequently broken or 
otherwise forced into a position that conformed with the preconception?  

I am not (conscientiously) trying to sound like an idiot, nor fan the 
flames of an anatomical jihad, but with today's advanced forensic 
techniques, why is it so difficult to determine how the basic skeleton of 
a dinosaur fit together.  I can see the difficulty with something like 
stego's plates or tail spikes, but with something as essential as ribs or 
a leg, I am lost.
Blaise "It's been a long day and my mind grows weary" Considine 
[bpc.apa@email.apa.org]