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Re: Birds, dinosaurs, and digit 1



There is a lot of talk about Feduccia's very recent paper on the digits in
birds and dinosaurs.  It seems that most people have already discounted his
evidence.  Have any of you read it, yet?  Unless you got it electronically,
I doubt it since it won't be in mailboxes until later this week.  It was my
understanding (and maybe I'm wrong) that "dinosaurology" was a part of
paleontology, which in turn is one of the branches of biological science.
This means that "dinosaurologogists" should be scientists--people who are
supposed to weigh all available evidence before making conclusions.  As
colleagues in biology often tell me, the fact that "jumping to conclusions"
is so prevalent in paleontology is the reason that they look at paleontology
as their ugly stepsister.  Let's stick to doing science.  Read the paper,
consider the evidence, then draw your conclusions.  I personally don't care
whether you accept his conclusions or not, but try not to let preconceived
notions distort your vision and more importantly, remember that paleontology
is a science not a psuedoscience.

>At 12:40 -0400 24/10/97, WOlewiler@aol.com wrote:
>>Alan Feduccia, chair of biology at University of N.C., Chapel Hill, is
>>co-author of an article in Science stating that microscopic examination of
>>bird embryos shows no sign of digit 1, even in vestigial form. "We consider
>>this unequivocal evidence that birds" did not evolve from dinosaurs. Reason:
>>Dinosaurs had digits 1, 2, and 3; birds have digits 2, 3, and 4, with no sign
>>of a digit 1, even in embryos.
>
>My reaction, working simply from first principles:
>
>If the ancestral vertebrates all had five digits, and embryonic
>studies show that birds have no sign of digit one, either birds
>are space aliens or someone isn't looking carefully enough.
>
>
>---
>Derek Tearne.   ---   @URL Internet Consultants  ---  http://url.co.nz
>Some of the more environmentally aware dinosaurs were worried about the
>consequences of an accident with the new Iridium enriched fusion reactor.
>"If it goes off only the cockroaches and mammals will survive..." they said.
>
>
>
TDJ
:-{)
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    Terry D. Jones                             Voice:  541/737-6120     
    Oregon State University              Fax:      541/737-0501          
    Dept. of Zoology                         JONEST@bcc.orst.edu
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    Corvallis, OR  97331-2914
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