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

[This is getting a little out of hand.  For those keeping score at home, I
am going to label this as message Feduccia #1.  My next response on this
subject will be Feduccia #2, etc...  The problem is that George is
responding to my messages so fast that sometimes the reply seems to go up
before the origional does.]

[Note that not everyone receives messages at the same time.  To my
 knowledge I have never distributed a response before an original, but
 you don't necessarily receive things in the order they're sent.
 Also, some people (e.g. George) send carbon copies to original
 authors, so Jonathan you're getting the direct response much earlier
 than any one else is getting it via the list.  -- MR ]

At 01:16 AM 9/27/96 -0400, George Olshevsky wrote:

>>         Yet these become problems to be "resolved" by your BCF theory.
>So?? Problems are problems.

        They're not.  These are mostly unfounded objections which a theory
raised by an intelligent worker such as yourself may reject in a scholarly
fashion without treating them as founded accusations.  By addressing them,
you lend them validity.

>Come on, man. Where've you been?? Take a look at some of the recent issues of
>_Nature_ with dinosaur-bird cladograms in them. Why, even Tom Holtz...

        No, brother, you misunderstand.  A dinosaur-bird cladogram *does
not* implicitly demand a cursorial origin of avian flight.  I am fully aware
that most paleontologists trace avian decent to the Coelurosauria using
cladistic methodology.  I was wondering how many believe that this strongly
indicated a cursorial origin of flight.

>BCF doesn't have all the answers, but it provides a better framework for
>finding answers than the _ad hoc_ BADD stuff.

        It seems to.  I keep waiting for BCF to expalin Elvis sightings.  :)
        That didn't answer the challenge, though, which was "why is it
arrogant to leave some aspects of science to other workers?"

>Just read the first few chapters of the new Feduccia book and see whether you
>don't detect scoffing. And I predict that BCF, or something quite like it,
>>will< eventually prevail.

        I don't deny that tey scoff, I question wy you support their scoffing.
        And of course you predict it will prevail, why else would you spend
so much effort on it.  Most scientists and science-layfolk have a
quasi-religious belief that the best theory will prevail,, although they
rarely aggree on which is the best...
>I have fun tweaking some of the more egregious cladists, just like you seem
>to be having fun tweaking me.

        Sweet of you to notice.  :)

>improvement over the hit-and-miss phylogenies of pre-Hennig times, but there
>is lots of work still to be done in uncovering ways to define characters,
>remove subjectivity from character descriptions, weed out homoplasies, and so

        Homoplasy should weed itself out.  Also, I'm not even sure that all
of these improvements can be made, although some of the morphometricists at
TTU have a few things to say about the subject...

>I said--"at first." What I'm pointing out here is that there are good reasons
>other than simple support and hind-limb locomotor functions for sacral-count

        And you didn't prove your point.  Why did the counts rise to four or
five at first, independantly in multiple lines?

>>         If I recall correctly, iguanodonts have their tails locked in place
>> by tendons, yet they have quite a few sacral vertebrae.
>Irrelevant. Iguanodonts are not small dino-birds.

        *But they are decended from them according to BCF!*  Why do they
need to develop a long sacrum in paralell with "dinobirds" if they are just
going to lock the tail in (and rip the knob off?)

>Long tails, which are plesiomorphic for archosaurs, and so useful for (1)
>stabilizing gliding flight 

        So ramphorynchids were gliders?

+-------------******ONCE AGAIN, NOTE NEW E-MAIL ADRESS******---------------+
| 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, |
|       *** wagner@ttu.edu ***           Then they're no friends of mine." |
|           Web Page:  http://faraday.clas.virginia.edu/~jrw6f             |