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Re: Feduccia (was: polarity of bipedality in dinosaurs)

        I would address the quotes from Feduccia's new book, but it's
hearsay, and it would make more sense to read it myself.  Of course, if the
rest of the book is that, well, unreasonable, perhaps I'll wait until the
library gets a copy...

At 12:46 PM 9/24/96 -0500, Ron Orenstein wrote:

>>>Feduccia illustrates a hypothetical protobird on p. 92, as  long-bodied,
>>>rather sinuous glider.  I find it hard to believe in such a creature, though
>>>Feduccia seems convinced of it.  Am I missing something?
>>        Yes, you are interested in paleontology, not ornithology.

>Actually that isn't quite right - my PhD is actually in ornithology!  In
>fact I am writing a popular book on songbirds at the moment, and one of my
>problems is what to say to a general audience about bird origins.

        You miss my little point.  PALEONTOLOGISTS seem to favour a
dinosaurian origin of birds, ORNITHOLOGISTS seem to always refuse to look at
the evidence (as paleontologists have done on occasion, admittedly) and want
their birds as  neat little package "unadulterated" by dinosaurian heritage.
While this is all a gross over-generalization, I find it interesting that
you can find paleontologists skeptical of the dinosaur-bird theory, but you
can't seem to find ornithologists skeptical of the anti-dinosaur/bird theory
(for that's what it is, a counterattack.  It's never seemed to make it to
the coherent theory stage.  Well, maybe Feduccia's done it now...).
        As for your book, it sounds like you're well on the right track to
me.  You are familiar with the main theory going, and the counter-argumenst
posed by its detractors (or you will be soon).  Personally, I am frustrated
both with books that ignore possible counterarguements, and books which try
to make an imbalanced argument balanced by de-emphasizing the more
persuasive aspects of a more persuasive theory.  I'd be perfectly happy to
see a book which presents the dinosaur-bird link, then presents some of the
arguments against it.  This would sum up the current state of the science
nicely, in my oppinion.  If you wanted, you could even throw in Olshevsky's
BCF, although you may wish to restate it a little.
        You will, I am sure, post notice when your book is published?
| Jonathan R. Wagner                    "You can clade if you want to,     |
| Department of Geosciences              You can leave your friends behind |
| Texas Tech University                  Because your friends don't clade  |
| Lubbock, TX 79409                               and if they don't clade, |
| znc14@ttacs1.ttu.edu                   Then they're no friends of mine." |
|       Web Page:  http://faraday.clas.virginia.edu/~jrw6f                 |