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Your response (1/21/98 3:10 AM)to my Re.If dinosaurs Could fly and an old 'axiom' (1/20/98 2: 05P.M.)



Orenstein,

Your transmission on feather development is valuable. Thanks.

But, you say in the other communication that ontogeny's recapitulation phylogeny is "...merely disproved"! I could almost think some bible-belt fundamentalist is talking "creation science" here; but, granting the benefit of a doubt, CAN YOU PROVIDE A RELIABLE REFERENCE FOR YOUR ASSERTION, i.e., FROM A QUALIFIED RESEARCHER WRITING IN A REPUTABLE, PEER-REVIEWED PUBLICATION? If entirely true (and not just a personal revelation), your 'information' could be of major importance and a major area of embriologic research can now retire!

Granted, if science has proven anything, it is that every 'law' is special-case, and as Dr. Tom Holtz responded to my original message (in more discrete and more accurate words), "...Haeckel's Biogenic Law does turn out to be an oversimplification." [My emphasis added.]

You suggest that down feathers come before flight feathers, "Probably because thermoregulation is more important to newly-hatched chicks than flight." Maybe so (yet it seems a lot of people think flight feathers might be the more thermoregulatory -- which still wouldn't prove that they came first), but you do not seem to understand that I am concerned not so much with "why" (more the province of religion or even of philosophy, one might think?) than "how", a rightful province of science.

Considering what happens in baby chicks (At least, in Texas!), with down feathers coming before flight feathers, just what evidence can you proffer that Haeckel's Biogenic Law does not provide a substantive part of the correct explanation of the sequence?

Because of recent events, I haven't made up my mind on the 'dinos-to-birds' question, and I try to keep an open mind. Do I guess correctly that you have already decided? [Now what in the world could ever give me that idea?]

Let's keep our sense of humor and try not to make the feathers fly in all this controversy. You may need yours for insulation up there in Ontario this winter.

Ray Stanford, The Dino Tracker