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Re: Bakker threads



> On a macro level, those are the facts... everything else - EVERYTHING ELSE -
> is speculation and supposition!  Educated, informed, highly-probable
> speculation in many cases; but supposition nonetheless!
> If we stuck to the facts - just the facts, as Stephenson/Joe Friday would
> have it - then all any paleontologist could do is describe the fossils...

     You have confused filling in the gaps in our knowledge with speculation
for the purposes of fiction with DISTORTING our knowledge for the purposes
of fiction.
     This discussion has made it sound like everything can be cleanly cut
into fact and B.S., but in fact it is a scale.  A paleontologist, or a person
trying to apply paleontology to a plausible work of fiction needs to be able
to tell what is FACT from what is PROBABLE from what is LIKELY from what is
POSSIBLE (not to mention from what is UNLIKELY from what is SILLY from what
is STUPID from what is KILL THE GUY WHO SUGGESTED IT BEFORE HE CAN REPRODUCE.)
      Most of the gripes on this list, whether about J.P or Raptor Red or
Mononykus, deal with the middle categories.  We don't
have hard facts that Mononykus did or didn't have feathers, but if it is
close enough to birds this is possible, or even likely.  Brachiosaurus
rearing up on its hind legs is unlikely.  Raptor Red's sister having a
hissyfit over its infant dying seems (at least to me) rather unlikely
given the way most animals today respond to the death of offspring (I
recall the posting about the mother lion eating the cubs body and
playing with the head afterwards).  Given comparisons of T.rex's
teeth with those of living animals, and the bite marks on
contemporaneous animals that match those teeth, T.rex being a
carnivore is so extremely probable that most of us consider it
a fact.
     THE POINT BEING is that just because we aren't a hundred percent
sure of something doesn't mean that all speculations are equally
valid.  We know things about how modern animals are designed and how
they behave, and we can extrapolate this knowledge with varying
degrees of confidence to extinct animals.
      It seems a little sad to me that people seem to think that
plausible representations of dinosaurs couldn't possibly be
interesting to the public.  Do we subscibe to this list because we think
dinosaurs were dull?  The T.rex attack in J.P was scary, not because it
was covered with feathers or did kung-fu, but because a six tonne
carnivore is pretty damn scary all by itself.

LN Jeff
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"Chaos is our way, my dear.  Chaos is what killed the dinosaurs."