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DINO NOTES



More catching up on dino news 12-20 Sept mixed with more recent posts:
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HORNER: Apparently I spelled his name incorrectly. My apologies. That's
not the only thing I spelled wrong, but I usually double-check the names.
I got an Email taking me to task because I had said anything ill regarding
such a smart man, but I have to stand by my objections to his fixation on
this Trex-as-Scavenger thing, and his "humans are scavengers because you
didn't kill your own dinner" comment is preposterous. It serves him ill
and I'm not the only one tired of hearing him flog that horse. What fame
he has he deserves, but he his own fame diminishes by the Scavenger thing.
He does not need to make outrageous statements to be noticed. I did very
much appreciate those who took the time to summarize his theories and
those who destroyed his theories bit-by-bit.
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SINRAPTORIDAE: Dr Holtz... You noted (back on 12 Sept) that the only
families left in Carnosauria (at least, under your view) were Allosauridae
(ok, I know what an Allosaurus is) and Sinraptoridae. That second one I
can't find anywhere in Dinosaur (Society) Encyclopedia. Discovering
Dinosaurs (AMNH) mentions "Sinornis" but that seems to be a bird. Ultimate
Dinosaur Book mentions a Sinosaurus that is early Jurassic; is that the
one? What happened to all of the other families that the reference books
ascribe to Carnosauria? Are things changing so fast that a book published
in 1993 is now totally out of date? Sheesh.... I'll never get a tree done.
What are you Paleontologists DOING, writing this on a blackboard? <smile>
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RETURN TO THE TREES (#612): DinoGeorge, old buddy... Leopards take their
kills up a tree so they can enjoy them in peace without having other
predators come around looking for a handout. Perhaps that is another
reason for archosaurs returning to trees. After all, a Leopard has little
to fear that it cannot outrun on flat ground, and there are very few
gazelles up there in the trees to be caught.
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DEFINITION, PLEASE: (#612) Neotheropoda is congruent to Theropoda.
Ok, George, what does that mean in English?
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FOSSIL COLLECTING: A surface-collecting provision won't work. Besides the
fact that you can't enforce it, taking the one from the top without
digging just means no one can find the rest of it, and what could have
been a complete skeleton found all at once will now be found one or two
bones per year and a lot of them will be washed down river.
As for fears of selling SUE in pieces, I doubt it, as you'd never be able
to prove that the rock on your mantle was part of Sue and not just a rock.
More likely, Sue will become the main attraction at a theme park.
I used to collect fossils when I had the time (found a few sea shells is
all) and now that I'm old and fat I just buy them from rock shows and rock
shops. I can tell you that everywhere I've been, I look in the phone book
for rockshops and go there, and find 9,999 rocks and one or two fossils.
At the biggest single rock shop in Dallas Tx, there was about an acre of
rocks and minerals and lapidary stuff, and exactly four fossils (three
lungfish from Brazil and an elephant tooth). At the largest rock shop in
Fort Worth, there was a Walmart-sized rock/mineral/gem area, and the
fossils (about 20 of them) were on one three-foot-long shelf in the
corner. Just not a lot of fossils in stores, other than those awful
polished black Moroccan seashell things.
I think that the real problem with the Baccus Bill et al is the fear that
one really cool unique fossil is going to end up out of the scientific
database, despite the FPA's demand that unique fossils (as self-defined by
the guy who found it, get real) be turned over to museums. Maybe one way
to do that would be for museums to find a way to encourage collectors with
really cool fossils to loan them for study. Maybe something like this: "If
you bring in a fossil that's not common junk and let our scientist look it
over, you get free admission. If it's something we really would like to
borrow for three months and study, we'll give you a free reproduction of
another cool fossil. And if your fossil is REALLY WAY COOL and we can
borrow it for six months, then we'll make and market castings of it and
you'll share in the loot we get from sales. And if we accept your fossil
for our rotating display for public viewing, we'll put your name on it and
give you a free pass for yourself and two friends for as long as it's on
display". [Since it would take a couple of grad students sitting in the
lobby screening fossils to make this work, you might have to limit it to,
say, Tuesdays.] One result of this is that even if you can't keep that
cool Allosaurus Tibia that Fred Smith owns, you know he's got it, and you
can ask to see it if something comes up about Allosaurus. You might even
convince him to give you a chance to beat the offer if he decides someday
to sell it, or maybe he'd leave it to you in his will.
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BUYING SUE: I'll put in $20 as long as she goes on display in a public
museum and casts are made available to other museums through the usual
channels. I'm not going to argue which museum that should be.
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BIG ALLOSAURS: I thought Epanterias had been found to be just an
Allosaurus but that someone had found some other Allosaurid and had
decided since Epanterias was such a cool name they'd just transfer it to
that. Is THIS the one that is now Saurophaganax maximus?
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MARINE REPTILES: We all know that Plesiosaur and Mosasaur and all that
bunch are "marine reptiles" rather than "dinosaurs". But, just out of
curiosity, is there any evidence of "marine dinosaurs"? (The dino
equivalent of the whale and dolphin.)
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EXPANDED OPTIONS FOR SEGNOSAUR ANCESTRY
The origin of the Segnosaurs remains one of the most fascinating mysteries
in Dinosauria. They are clearly Saurischians, but are they a branch of the
Sauropods or a branch of the Theropods? They show traits of both branches,
and hence could be a third branch or a part of either branch. No one has a
definitive answer, and any of the possibilities could be true. If
SauroThero (the theoretical ancestor of all Saurischians) had genes 1 and
2 and the Sauros turned off #1 and the Theros turned off #2 and the Segnos
show both #1 and #2, then could not the mysterious Segnos have either:
1. Descended from a Thero who suddenly remembered gene #2.
(Which such reversions are rare, the birds did it with their wishbones.)
1A. Descended from a Thero who "converged" toward trait #2.
2. Descended from a Sauro who suddenly remembered gene #1
2A. Descended from a Sauro who "converged" toward trait #1.
3. Descended via unknown link from SauroThero who had both #1 and #2.
3A. Descended from a ProSauro before Sauro evolved from ProSauro.
It does seem that we're looking for another missing link here.
(I never did mention or imply inbreeding between already diverged
Sauros and Theros. That might actually explain the Segnos, but I'm not
willing to buy that it could have happened.)
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