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Inquiries & Stuff
Just some short comments.
Peter misunderstood my apparently confusing post on synonymization. When
I mentioned doing it for Stegoceras and Plateosaurus I was actually talking
about two different works - the first by Chapman, Galton, Sepkoski & Wall
in J. Paleontology 1981 and the other by Weishampel & Chapman in the Dinosaur
Systematics Volume edited by our own Ken Carpenter - who's on a short
sabbatical from the list so he can finish a paper - which I should be doing
but I'm a glutton.
BadPentium (no other name) encourages us to continue to answer inquiries
and was concerned about the recent discussions. As I read them, actually,
we were not talking about stopping answering questions but just determining
the type of question that is reasonable to be asked by a student. Inquiries
from teachers and their students (together or separate) are always welcome
as far as I'm concerned, we just all have limited time and need to make
optimal use of it when answering questions. Jordan's recent question of
terminal Jurassic extinctions was perfect - it's a specific question
about a topic not well covered in most popular books. Conversely, asking
for someone to spend a lot of time rehashing all dino extinction theories
to answer a very vague question is not and it is important for teachers
to teach their students how to hone their questions so that busy people
can be generous with their time (thanks Tom for the heroism here) and
not be monopolized by a single inquiry. So we'll all continue, I just
hope we can supply answers that are not easily available - there are lots
of new ideas and material to talk about.
We all are trying pretty hard and it's always interesting to see the
responses by a variety of people, both professionals and non, to the
more interesting questions.
Ralph Chapman, NMNH