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Tyrannosaur skins and some moderation...



Since theropod skin and its associated feathers (or lack thereof) has
been rather hot here, I thought the following message from last year
should be resurrected:

  From: "Constable,Miles [Edm]" <CONSTABLEM@mail.edm.ab.doe.ca>
  To: dinosaur <dinosaur@lepomis.psych.upenn.edu>
  Subject: Tyrannosaur Skin Inprint Found in Alberta
  Date: Mon, 20 Mar 95 07:49:00 MST
  Message-Id: <2F6D99D4@mail.edm.ab.doe.ca>

  The following is an excerpt from Saturday's Edmonton Journal on the
  discovery of a skin inprint of a tyrannosaur.
  
  "A 12 year-old's inquiring mind and keen eyes found rock traces of a
  tyrannosaur's hide where professional paleontologists had missed
  it."
  
  The pros were looking for bones. Tess Owen looked in a rock
  formation near Edmonton where Royal Tyrrell Museum paleontologists
  had earlier examined the partial skeleton of a young adult
  tyrannosaur and found one of only three tyrannosaur skin impressions
  to date."
  
  "The 10 cm-square inpression is also by far the best of the three."
  
  "It was one of those things that is a humbling experience for the
  rest of us," said Dr. Phil Currie, head of dinosaur research for the
  museum in Drumheller. If you look for bones, your're likely to find
  bones, Currie suggested. Not having the same prejudice that everyone
  else had in terms of looking at the bones she found the skin
  impression.  Our peiple missed it and I think professionals all
  around the world miss it all the time. I think it was lucky she was
  curious enough to sak about it."
  
  The impression shows symmetrical rows of raised bumps and is
  definitely from a tyrannosaur..." Currie said.
  
  Currie says the specimen is far vetter than the two other previously
  discovered tyrannosaur skin impressions. It's small, but it confirms
  what the other two suggested: that tyrannosaurs had a lightly
  pebbled skin, like an elephant's hide."

  Miles Constable
  Paleontological Bystander

And since I'm here, I thought I'd again float the idea of making this
a moderated list.  I'm leaning towards the idea now not because I
think we're getting too many "inappropriate" messages, but rather
because I think we're getting too many messages period.  When people
unsubscribe they don't usually tell me why, but when they do it's
almost invariably: there's too much traffic here!  Some of that could
also be alleviated if we had a set of FAQs, but the project begun a
while back isn't going anywhere right now (so far as I know), and I
don't have the time to push it.

If we chose to make this a moderated list, we'd all have one person to
blame if we didn't like a particular thread.  For instance, I had my
reservations about the hydrogen-filled sauropod thread, but if I were
moderating the list I'd have let it in *until people started
complaining*.  Once a few complaints came in I would then have stopped
the thread in its tracks.  Speaking of tracks... the Protoceratopsian
dune buggy thread should probably be laid to rest at least until
people have had time to regroup.  I think having more central control
of the list would be healthy for it at this time because frankly,
under the current situation, people don't listen much.  I was in a
real crisis last week -- it turns out that my crisis was largely
manufactured by AOL, but I didn't know that when I asked everyone to
slow down, and none of you should have known it until now.  And you
guys continued to use bandwidth as if it grows on trees!

Jeff Poling suggested we stop advertising the list, but as I told him
personally, that won't help much.  The number of subscribers to this
list has remained fairly stable for the past year (except for the
rising and falling as new semesters begin and end at colleges and
universities all around the world...).  What's changed is the
garrulousness of the participants.  The list has been on this machine
for just barely over two years now.  Here are some statistics about
the list over the course of that time period (as of 16:00 EST):

Total number of messages on file: 12550

DINOGEORGE@AOL.COM                               1182
THOMAS_R_HOLTZ@UMAIL.UMD.EDU                     866
SWF@ELSEGUNDOCA.ATTGIS.COM                       743
DWN194@SOTON.AC.UK                               281
PHARRINJ@PLU.EDU                                 260
ROWE@LEPOMIS.PSYCH.UPENN.EDU                     258
DINO@CWIS.UNOMAHA.EDU                            228
BETTYC@FLYINGGOAT.COM                            252
ORNSTN@INFORAMP.NET                              246
JPOLING@INFINET.COM                              220
ROBERT.J.MEYERSON@UWRF.EDU                       194
MARTZ@HOLLY.COLOSTATE.EDU                        193
JDHARRIS@POST.SMU.EDU                            185
PWILLIS@OZEMAIL.COM.AU                           172
NCLARK@MUSEUM.GLA.AC.UK                          159
STANG1996@AOL.COM                                155
TUCKR@DDI.DIGITAL.NET                            151
GSP1954@AOL.COM                                  142
N8010095@HENSON.CC.WWU.EDU                       129
MNHAD002@SIVM.SI.EDU                             124
CNEDIN@GEOLOGY.ADELAIDE.EDU.AU                   108

That's all of the people that have gotten into the triple digits
(congratulations, Nedin!  You made the team ;-) I was somewhat
surprised in that I didn't think Greg Paul had written nearly that
much, and I'd have guessed Darren had written more.  The bottom line,
though, is that even if the exact numbers aren't completely accurate
(I'm not certain I trust listproc, and some of the numbers I had to
add together because people have used different addresses), it seems
clear that some of the newer folk talk a lot more.  I think Stan and I
are the only two people in the above list that have been here since
the list came to this machine.  George, who's been here for about five
months has clearly made his presence known, although Nick Pharris
might catch him if he keeps up his current pace.

If you've born with me this far, please take a minute to write to me
(not the list!) and tell me if you still want the list to remain a
free for all, or if you'd rather have one person serve as moderator --
a person to blame when things get out of hand.  But Roger, I don't
want to hear any speeches about free speech please.  Been there, done
that and I think it's irrelevant.

Thanks!

-- 
Mickey Rowe     (rowe@lepomis.psych.upenn.edu)