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Re: Mononykus and feathers

On Sun, 28 Apr 1996 Dinogeorge@aol.com wrote:

> Why is it that the theropod experts all seem to think that those theropods
> recently "in the news" are INCREDIBLY birdlike, but when the bird experts
> look at the SAME material, they find nothing particularly birdlike there?

I agree. It has been stated earlier in this thread that Mononykus just
"looks" like a dinosaur, not a bird. Again, I'm an ornithologist, not
a paleontologist. To me the most striking aspect of Mononykus, that which
stands out the most, is that it just does not say bird to me. And, I do
profess to know birds. The fact that Mononykus does not say bird to me is
the flip side of the view of others that it does look like a dinosaur.
[I do not consider birds to be avian dinosaurs although I do accept the
hypothesis that birds evolved from dinosaurs. To me, birds and dinosaurs
are categorically different critters.]

I haven't found time to prepare the arguments I would like to present
to this mail list regarding the course this thread has taken. I hope
to still be able to do that. In the mean time, let me reassert that it
is *not* good science to place feathers on Mononykus at this time -
even if it did have feathers. I will defend this argument later. Until
I can deliver, here are a couple of references you all can use to
anticipate where I'll come from:

Zhou, Z. 1995. Is Mononykus a bird? Auk 112(4):958-963.

Frodeman, R. 1995. Geological reasoning: geology as an interpretive
and historical science. GSA Bull. 107(8):960-968.

Byron K. Butler         "A liberal education ... frees a man from
58 Windfall Lane        the prison-house of his class, race, time,
Guilford, CT 06437      place, background, family and even his
byron.butler@yale.edu   nation."     ---  Robert Maynard Hutchins