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Re: Re-evolving bones?



At 02:50 AM 5/7/97 -0400, Dinogeorgewrote:
>I could make a marvelous counterargument here,[...]
        But lets not go there. This subject seems to be wearing thin.

>cutting down independent thinkers and others who question their
>methodologies by casting _ad hominem_ aspersions on their credentials.
        No ad honimem was intended. If any was percieved, I apologize.
        Let me explain: Fidel Schnickelfritz starts making statements about
his oppinion regarding theropod systematics. Senor Schnickelfritz may have a
PhD in evolutionary biology, but if I don't know that, I have no means of
evaluating an argument based upon his reputation. I certainly could not
weigh his oppinions as heavily as the oppinions of a theropod worker who I
know has years of experience (say, a Currie, a Holtz, a Russell, a Sereno, a
Padian, or an Olshevsky). I will be especially doubtful about Fidel's
theories if he uses disproven notions of evolution to support them. If Fidel
posts an argument using evidence other than that which has already been
rejected by current scientific thinking (I'm not talking about methodology,
but about theory), I may proceed to evaluate his argument on its merits. He
need not ever feel obliged to bring up his "reputation".

>We find the arguments of cladistics >in this case< to be unconvincing.
        The attribution of the therizinosauroids to Theropoda was done based
on the recognition of diagnostic characters in specific specimens. I am
unaware of a cladistic analysis which "argues" that they are theropods.
Indeed, Russell and Dong state that _Alxasaurus_ was determined in the field
to be a theropod before any cladistic work was done, and that cladistic work
in their paper was done as an ingroup analysis of Theropoda (including
Therizinosauroidea).

>In a cladistic analysis of, say, therapsids, score _Eryops_ into the
character >matrix >as if it were a therapsid< [...]
        The point you are getting at is one which I have already agreed to.
A cladistic analysis of the Dinosauria using the new data on
Therizionsauroidea needs to be done.
        The scenario you propose may, in fact, be the source of the
Holodeck-Cladistics version of _Eryops_ seen on Star Trek: Voyeur. ;)

>Why won't anybody >put cladistics itself to the test<?
        If such a thing can be done, it should be done.
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      Jonathan R. Wagner, Dept. of Geosciences, TTU, Lubbock TX 79409
      "The cost of living hasn't affected its popularity." - Unknown