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Re: 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:

I didn't think I was being vindictive, I just wanted to sound a loud note
of caution re your methodology.

>You sound more as a soothsayer than as a scientist!

Now who's being vindictive?

>we have a right to speculate, labeling it as such, even in an open forum.

I acknowledged that you speculated and that you labeled it as such. My
point was that the speculation was beyond the bounds of reason and that
this kind of speculation has a nasty habit of ending up as defacto facts.
Think before you speculate aloud!

>You have not demonstrated that such speculation is either unfair or even

Making a possible assignation of a footprint to an animal separated by tens
of millions of years and considerable geographic distances when there are
other possible candidates for the position (see Chris Brochu's post on
other possible crocodilian taxa) is, in my book, reckless and unnecessary

>You're not the only guy in this that knows how necessary caution is,

Then consider this: some half-arse hack has to turn up some facts on
Deinosuchus as part of a larger story he's covering. First stop, the world
wide web. An Altavista search turns up, amongst other items, your post of a
possible Deinosuchus footprint. The article appears with Dienosuchus being
known from three sites when it has only been confirmed from one and
possibly identified from a second. You know and I know that your wild
speculation should not count as a proven case of a third locality but a
hack without a training in the sublties of palaeontological research won't
make that destinction. Suddenly, because of your announcement of a possible
third occurrance, Deinosuchus gains a geographic distribution and a 50
million year temporal extention that it almost certainly does not deserve.
At least if he bothers to read the next entry in his Altavist search, he
will find strong opposition to your speculation and might think twice about
it. I know the I'm not the only guy who knows how necessary caution is. My
question is, do you?

>Could it be you're a dyed-in-the-wool "bone man"?

I have been described as such but leave my sex life out of this.

>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.

Your above argument is irrelevant (for God sake, we don't even know what
the feet of deinosuchus look like). No known crocodile has a temporal range
of 50 million years but, with your speculation, you have just created one.
Doesn't this fact alone suggest that extreme caution needs to be exercised
before floating such speculations onto a public forum?

>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"?

And leave my balls out of this as well, they're completely irrelevant (not
to me of course).

>Also, I am a bit cautious of the 'facts' presented by someone whose name I'm
>not familiar with,

Well don't let your ignorance get in the way of a good story. My PhD was on
fossil crocs, I've worked on many groups of vertebrates in a variety of
settings across Australia and around the world. Its that enough credit
moungering for you?

>It is unbecoming to a palaeotologist, but maybe not uncharacteristic!

But at least you spell "palaeontologist" correctly. But why the HTML copy
as well as the Email?

Yes, this post has been a bit vindictive in tone, but I thought that was a
reasonable right of reply. Am I in the sin bin again Mickey?



Dr Paul M.A. Willis
Consulting Vertebrate Palaeontologist
Quinkana Pty Ltd