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Re: Lots'a questions after a ref.-tiding-up!



In a message dated 98-08-29 11:59:03 EDT, 102354.2222@compuserve.com writes:

<< Dan Chure, who has actually examined the
 braincase material in China, notes that the published description is
 misleading and/or flat-out wrong on a lot of points, particularly in
 misinterpretation of diagenetically altered features, making the thing look
 more allosauroid than it is... >>

This sort of thing happens all the time in dinosaur paleontology,
unfortunately. I had a big argument with Ken Carpenter about this at last
year's SVP meeting. My point was that if you have to go back to the actual
specimens >every time< you want to publish something, then >what the hell is
the point of publishing descriptions<? If you cannot rely and build on the
published literature and on descriptions made by supposedly competent
professional paleontologists, why call this a science at all? Why not just
make up some fantasy creatures with big teeth and horns and frills and jabber
about >them<? I don't have the means to visit every damned museum on the
planet and to examine every damned specimen at my leisure. I do what I can,
but still I have to rely on published descriptions of specimens I cannot
examine personally, and if they're wrong, it can throw lots of labor and
writing time into the wastebasket. This issue is a really sore point with
me--enough to kill my interest in dinosaurs.