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Paul Willis on "Re. Re. Deinosuchus basics..."

I would have preferred to have answered your vindictive attack by a personal e-mail, but you've thrown things into the open arena, so here goes:

Regarding your comments in a posting on the Maryland crock-like print (2-4-98 6:46 AM), "...let's scotch the myth here and now that it is Deinosuchus." You sound more as a soothsayer than as a scientist!

Paul, your de facto allegation of "myth" is, itself, a myth. The guy who creates a straw man, and, upon beating hell out of him, declares victory is, himself, the real myth maker. Unlike that sentence of yours, what I said is objective and intellectually honest. No one likes another to try and put words into his (or her) mouth! My word was "possibly could" have been made by Deinosuchus. (Of course that's 'off-the-cuff' speculation, but in your mind it seems to be a crime.) Futhermore -- despite your obsessive pedantry to the contrary -- we have a right to speculate, labeling it as such, even in an open forum.

You have not demonstrated that such speculation is either unfair or even incorrect. You're not the only guy in this that knows how necessary caution is, especially in being too specific about imprint makers, but I suspect you are a bit prejudiced against how much a high-quality track or, still better, trackway, can tell about its maker. Could it be you're a dyed-in-the-wool "bone man"?

Sub-adult size, per se, does not negate it being made by Deinosuchus. Of course, in order to make a reasonably credible case that a track was definitely made by Deinosuchus it's kind of like you say: For example, one might find tracks leading to a Deinosuchus skeleton, or maybe have a track(s) so gigantic that they seem to belong to this animal in an area populated with Deinosuchus skeletons and with no evidence of other comparably large animals of similar type. So, what's new, Paul? You statements could be taken to imply that I'm so abominally ignorant as to not know that.

On second thought, I could use a crystal ball like the one you evidently used to determine that the referenced track is definitely NOT ("myth") of Deinosuchus. Could you send me one of those gadgets or at least tell me the location of the tomb of "Nortrodamus"?

The timing of Deinosuchus may be a moot question (especially relative the referenced find), and that point is well taken. One might consider, however, the fact that in absence of a direct dating methods such as isotopic (I'd even accept adequate magnetochron dating), purely geologic methods fall into the iffy category in some regions. Furthermore, Deinosuchus surely had some near-alike antecedents that might be referred to Deinosuchus.

Also, I am a bit cautious of the 'facts' presented by someone whose name I'm not familiar with, when he signs his post "Dr." without giving his background. [Dr. Tom Holtz, on the contrary, abundantly provides such material, on-line.] The quality of one's statements speak more clearly of one than merely a "Ph.D." following assertions. There are, after all, some pretty 'off-the-deepend' Ph.D.s out there. I'm really not questioning that you may be legitimate and honest and even highty informed, but convince me with facts and reason, not a blow-off of steam. It is unbecoming to a palaeotologist, but maybe not uncharacteristic!


Ray Stanford