[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]
Re: What do we know
Paul Willis presented a list of only three things we KNOW for sure
about dinosaurs. I'll have to disagree. There are many ways of
knowing something besides seeing it directly. Moreover, seeing
something directly does not always mean we know it. Our eyes and
memories are notoriously fallible.
Yes, there are countless things about dinosaurs that are based mostly
on speculation and imagination. However, I think I could draw up a
very long list of things we DO know about dinosaurs. For example, we
not only know about the existence of the fossils Paul lists; the same
fossils (when well preserved) allow us to draw many reliable
conflusions about dinosaurs, including how they looked and behaved,
where and when they lived, etc. For example, we know that Stegosaurus
had large plates and spikes, even if some workers dispute (or did at
one time) exactly how many, or in what arrangement. We know that
theropods and ornithopods generally walked about on two legs, and that
sauropods and other groups walked on all fours, from studying both
their skeletons and their footprints. We know that most dinosaurs did
not habitually drag their tails--unless the trackway record is very
biased against tail draggers. I think one could add many other things
to this list. If these are speculations or interpretations, they are
such reliable ones that they still belong in the category of "knowing."
I agree that there are a lot more things we don't know about
dinosaurs than things we do know, and that that in many cases what
seems obvious to one worker may appear highly speculative to another.
But I think most paleontologists could agree on a list of things known
about dinosaurs that would be considerably longer than Paul's.
Otherwise, we may as well question our own existence.