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



> 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<?

      Leave off with the "should be's"; the real life situation is that
competance does not equal omnipotence George.  Opinions differ and new
information comes to light.  The authors of these papers are presenting 
the information as accurately as they can primarily to let thier readers
know what is out there; not so that they can safely hide the specimens
away never to be examined, and potentially reevaluated again.  In real
life drawings can be erroneous (RECONSTRUCTIONS are so named for good
reason), and photographs are two dimesnsional representations of three
dimensional objects that are usually crushed and distorted to some extent
anyway. 
 
> I don't have the means to visit every damned museum on the
> planet and to examine every damned specimen at my leisure.

    Then perhaps you shouldn't come to conclusions that oppose those who
have.  Why do you rant and rave about scientists not publishing
descriptions and illustrations that are infallable enough to stand for
eternity when they HAVE looked at the actual material, and then describe
new genera, opposing the opinions of people who have examined the actual
material, when you haven't even seen many of them with your own eyes?
If conclusions based on in person examination won't neccessaily last
forever, those based on drawings and photographs are even more fallable.  

LN Jeff