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Pronunciation, humor and Deinonychus



Laurie has pointed out that I have forgotten to put accents on my 
pronunciations. Sorry about that. I was mostly trying to get the syllabic 
pronunciations done.Typically the emphasis goes on the third from the last but 
most people I know violate that rule as much as they follow it. I would say 
TRI-lobe-ite is my typical as is Steg-OSS-cer-us but, of course, I also say 
Steg-o-SAUR-us for the other, a clear violation of the Hatcher act of 1912 
(just kidding). Anyway, everything else holds as I've said before.

I'd also like to see things a little less humorless here. Greg is perfectly 
able to defend himself, if there is really something to defend. The image was 
funny regardless of your views. Greg has a lot of respect in the business, 
including lots from me. Despite the really interesting finds that support some 
of what GSP and others have suggested, most of his model is not at all 
supported with data right now - maybe later. Also, there needs to be a far 
tighter presentation of his views within a phylogenetic context. I admire Greg 
for staying in there and getting his stuff into the real literature and am 
looking forward to seeing him in Yale in February. I first met GSP so long ago 
other humans had far more evident brow ridges. It's been nice to see his 
science and art both improve. I hope mine has as well, although not my art, it 
always stinks. Taste in art, though...

One of differences I see between GSP and George on this subject is that Greg 
has his thoughts out there in the literature ready to be carved up. Believe me, 
it takes tremendous nerve to actually launch a paper you know will be 
controversial and will be jumped on by much of the whole extended dinosaur/bird 
family. I really admire Greg for doing that, and all the rest of us for that 
matter.

One of the reasons I try to review papers very constructively for journals is 
that I know how absolutely worthless and nasty some reviews get, for no reason 
- and a huge number are just wrong. I and others (Peter Dodson is the best) try 
to be different and try to make the paper as good as it can be, even if we 
disagree with it. I've never suggested a paper be rejected because I disagreed 
with it. It just has to be good and presented well. the disagreement just moves 
the science. 
So GSP does this but I have never really seen George's views on this subject 
cohesively put in the literature. It may have gone through the list but this 
does not count as part of the real on-going debate. It would have to be done 
within a strong phylogenetic context, but that's always the case. So how about 
it George? It's time to really wade in and get something on the real record on 
this so that you are part of the real debate. Can't say it will be your most 
pleasant experience, believe me I know, but you've had some interesting ideas 
(most I don't agree with but who cares about that?) on this subject for over a 
decade and yet most professional paleontologists don't know them. It's time to 
do it and I think you can. Make as short and sweet an argument as you can and 
I'm sure some of us will offer to review pre-submission to help get rid of 
anything reviewers would hate as a smoke-screen - some reviewers will harp on 
insignificant stuff and kill a paper despite the fact the main research is 
great. I suspect it would be good from your standpoint to be seen as part of 
the debate 30 years from now  - this is the way to do it. This is not to be 
seen as an attack on George, by the way, I would not encourage him to do this 
if I didn't think he could go through it. I would just like to see George get 
into the dialog officially since he has put so much effort in this direction.

It can be a very odd experience to put pet theories to the test by trying to 
get them into the literature. I know lots of pros who try not to publish them 
because they know they will die ugly deaths and they don't want to lose them as 
a crutch for their talks. I think this is why Jack Horner never seemed to get 
his scavenging Trex idea into a full paper - because it would die a real ugly 
death there (in my opinion from the start). The first Dinofest volume finally 
introduced it officially (probably much to Jack's chagrin since it was just a 
transcript of his talk) and Tom Holtz has literally been feasting (scavenging 
would be ironic) on it to the point that it is ready for diagenesis when Tom's 
papers are ready.  A lot of Bob Bakker's original data did not get published 
until the Dinosauria came out with some of it.  I suspect because they would 
not show themselves to be strong enough to support the arguments Bob was making 
based on them, and Bob knew this. I suspect he was awaiting more as sort of a a 
posterior proof to what he had been saying. Bob's been lucky enough to have 
some of his intuition get supported a posteriori, in part because he is a good 
observer and reads ravenously and devours dino info.
Also, many drop pet theories when they realize they cannot write them up 
logically.

Anyway, I encourage everyone to go through the process if they are in a 
position to do so. You'll learn a lot and it then gives you more of a base to 
enter the discourse. It's sort of like a prostate exam for men (women insert 
your equivalent here) - necessary for long-term health but a real discomfort 
and it feels so good when its over until next time.

Sorry for the length and the gross analogy,

Ralph Chapman