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Re: CNN on Lungs and Feathers

At 11:48 PM 1/5/98 -0500, Greg Paul wrote:
>idle comment on the examination of the Sinosauropteryx specimen is valueless
>because he has not seen it, unlike Currie, a highly qualified paleontologist
>and biologist who has carefully examined the feathery beast multiple times
>with various optics. 

And, also to the point, Currie knows a thing or two about sedimentary
geology.  It seems unfortunate that the team in the Jones et al. 1997 paper
were all biologists, as they are not looking at photographs of a dissected
animal, but at photographs of the fossilized skeleton and possible organic
or organically induced stains compressed between fine-grained sedimentary
layers.  Interpretations of these structures can be difficult at times.

It would be great to get someone like Derek Briggs or other
geologically-oriented paleontologists who are used to examining potential
soft tissue structures preserved in sedimentary rocks to see if the "guts"
are in fact preserved soft tissues or some other form of organically induced
stain.  Of course this would have to be done in person (and hopefully with
an SEM or whatever the best equipment that's available for the task), as is
the case of any rigorous examination of organisms.

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Vertebrate Paleontologist     Webpage: http://www.geol.umd.edu
Dept. of Geology              Email:th81@umail.umd.edu
University of Maryland        Phone:301-405-4084
College Park, MD  20742       Fax:  301-314-9661