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Re: Bakker bashing



Dave Hardenbrook wrote:

>I agree with everything FiSimpson@aol.com said about Dr. Bakker!
>Every time we lash out at him we forget that it was he who started
>us rethinking our ideas about dinosaurs in the first place!

Bob Bakker would be the first to admit (see almost any chapter in the Dinosaur
Heresies) that he is not soley, or even primarily, responsible for the
dinosaur renaissance.  He acknowledges that much of the modern thinking of
dinosaurs is actually a return to late 19th Century theories.  He recognizes
the contributions of other contemporary paleontologists, such as Colbert and
Galton, and first and foremost his undergraduate advisor, John Ostrom.

Despite the fact that Bakker clearly states that almost all the lines of
evidence linking birds and other theropods come from Ostrom's work, I still
find a lot of people who say "Bakker's theory on the origin of birds".  I
wonder if Bob finds that as frustrating as I do?

Further, Bakker acknowledges on how it was Ostrom who changed hadrosaurids
from duck-analogs to ungulate-analogs, and who recognized the Cuissinart
capabilities of ceratopsian jaws. Much of the evidence for dinosaur
endothermy that Bakker refers to is clearly marked as coming from Ostrom's
research.

Among Bakker's main contributions were the reanalysis of sauropod
paleobiology and his own lines of evidence for dinosaurian endothermy.  He
also established a new artistic look to dinosaur reconstructions, now
carried on by paleoartists like Greg Paul.

Now, I have to admit that Bakker's "Dinosaur Renaissance" in Scientific
American back in the mid-1970s was a very influential piece for the young
me, because for the first time I saw that there was more to paleontology
then digging up and naming new dinosaurs.  However, I quickly became aware
(with the publication of Desmond's _The Hot Blooded Dinosaurs_ and the NOVA
program by that name) that there were a lot of others involved in the same
research.

As a final note, I think fossil preparator par excellence Arnie Lewis said
it best when he said "Bakker's great for stirring up the alligators".  He
certainly has generated a lot of debate!

My two cents,

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Vertebrate Paleontologist     Webpage: http://www.geol.umd.edu
Dept. of Geology              Email:th81@umail.umd.edu
University of Maryland        Phone:301-405-4084
College Park, MD  20742       Fax:  301-314-9661

"There are some who call me...  Tim."