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

Dinogeorge@aol.com wrote:

 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?  This issue is 
> a really sore point with
> me--enough to kill my interest in dinosaurs.

But George you have to study the real thing. Ken and I are revising a
lot of taxa based on past errors. People see fossils through the
blinders of their own experience. 
        I caught some problems with Ken's reconstruction of Sauropelta, now we
are jointly publishing a revision. That does not mean Ken did bad work!!
I would not have gotten nearly what I did out of studying the museum
collections without the work of Ostrom, Coombs, and Carpenter breaking
trail for me. Sciences is tentative and cummulative!!! With luck every
new scientist studying a collection see more in it, adding to our
        Scientists MUST test hypothoses and to do that you have to run
experiments or in the case of Paleo re-examine the facts (specimens) as
descriptions are interpretations distilling the reality of the specimen.

        The first painting (Stibeck) of Scutellosaurus is wrong in giving it
only one row of scutes down its back. There are two as clearly described
by Colbert and personally observed by myself. All subsiquent paintings
are wrong as they were copied from the first.

        Nopsca reconstructed Polacanthus based on Stegosaurus (the only armored
dino known in 1905). It is wrong, but still most people base their
interpretation of Polacanthus on Nopsca's work.

        I love the field, but collection study is absolutly critical. That is
another critical reason for museums. When ever I hear people say  we
will let scientists study it then we will sell it, I cring, so George
this is not directed just at you.


Jim Kirkland