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Dinogeorge Digest #6

Subj:   Re: flight and feathers
Date:   98-07-01 20:48:16 EDT
From:   Dinogeorge
To:     cadams@hh.gpz.org

In a message dated 98-07-01 17:52:22 EDT, cadams@hh.gpz.org

<< When flight was first evolving in the avian line, there may well have been
 frequent reversals.  When flight was poorly refined, and forelimbs were not
 highly modified, secondary flightlessness may have occurred many times.
 Notice that modern birds that have become secondarily flightless cannot use
 their forelimbs for either scansorial locomotion or prey acquisition; they
 are too highly modified.  But this was not true of early dino-birds.  I am
 by no means the first person to note these things. >>

This, in a nutshell, is the BCF thesis. Thank you very much; couldn't have
said it better myself.

Subj:   Re: Will The Real Luis Rey Please
Stand Up
Date:   98-07-01 20:48:06 EDT
From:   Dinogeorge
To:     Danvarner, smfaust@edisto.cofc.edu

In a message dated 98-07-01 18:29:10 EDT, Danvarner@AOL.COM

<< By the way, at $350 so far this year I am an
 industry leader-and you can take that to the bank for all the good that will
 do you. >>

Too bad only Spielberg has Spielberg's resources to make money from
dinosaurs. There's no other way, it seems. Certainly not by selling
scientific dinosaur books written for the general public, or scientifically
accurate dinosaur artwork. Scientific accuracy: kiss of death.

Subj:   Re: Interest in dinosaurs (was Re: Third Jurassic Park
Movie Coming in 2000)
Date:   98-07-01 20:01:37 EDT
From:   Dinogeorge
To:     th81@umail.umd.edu, smfaust@edisto.cofc.edu

In a message dated 98-07-01 17:51:44 EDT, th81@umail.umd.edu

<< So, having now used up what would have been the opening to my memoirs
 I question for professionals and fans alike: what got you into dinosaurs?  I
 would particularly like to hear from anyone who can honestly admit they
 didn't have an interest in dinosaurs UNTIL they saw "Jurassic Park" or "JP:
 The Lost World". >>

I talk a bit about this at my bio Web site for the DIG page, where I'm doing
the monthly question-answering stint for July.

Go to web site


and also


for the questions I've been answering.

Date:   98-06-30 15:14:09 EDT
From:   Dinogeorge
To:     m_troutman@hotmail.com

In a message dated 98-06-30 12:45:20 EDT, m_troutman@hotmail.com

<< Again, this whole secondarily flightless theropod issue is not supported 
 by the known phylogeny of theropods and the flight characters can be 
 explained by arboreality or other processes. >>

All the cladograms I've seen do indeed support secondary flightlessness in
_Mononykus_, certainly. But the important thing is that, at this point,
secondary flightlessness for many theropods is not >falsified< by any
cladograms. There's a big difference between "not supported" and "falsified."
Secondary flightlessness occurred repeatedly among Cretaceous birds
(hesperornithans, _Patagopteryx_, _Gargantuavis_) and Cenozoic birds, and
there's no reason believe that the process didn't also occur within Triassic
and Jurassic birds groups, such as they were.

Subj:   Re: Third Jurassic Park Movie Coming in 2000
Date:   98-06-29 23:12:50 EDT
From:   Dinogeorge
To:     Bandraptor

In a message dated 98-06-29 22:29:23 EDT, Bandraptor@AOL.COM

<< One Question:
 WHY?!? >>

One answer: $$$

Subj:   Re: Will the real Futabasaurus please stand
Date:   98-06-29 23:12:42 EDT
From:   Dinogeorge
To:     majestic_cheese@yahoo.com

In a message dated 98-06-29 21:47:59 EDT,
majestic_cheese@yahoo.com writes:

<< Tyrannosauroid or plesiosaur? >>

Futabasaurus is just a nomen nudum that appeared in a popular account of
Japanese dinosaurs, not a properly described genus. So anybody can call
anything Futabasaurus until the genus is formally published with description,
type species and type specimen, and so forth. The Japanese are particularly
fond of naming vertebrate fossils after localities, as in "Futaba-ryu," which
then translates into English as "Futabasaurus." So there could be both a
tyrannosaur and a plesiosaur "Futabasaurus."

Subj:   Re: secondary flightlessness
Date:   98-06-29 21:38:47 EDT
From:   Dinogeorge
To:     david.lessin@walgreens.com

In a message dated 98-06-29 17:29:30 EDT,
david.lessin@walgreens.com writes:

<< There are no "transitional forms" in nature, only those  organisms,
genotypically and phenotypically suited for the environment in which it
lives, and those which are not.  >>

There certainly are transitional forms, although they can only be found in
hindsight, provided one knows what feature or features one wants the form to
be transitional in. For example, _Archaeopteryx_ is a transitional form
between a dromaeosaurid and, say _Sinornis_, in certain aspects of its wing
anatomy. No naturalist alive at the time of _Archaeopteryx_, however, would
have been able to predict just what kind of animal it would prove
transitional to (if any). That has been left to extant paleontologists to
discover. On any cladogram, the forms on branches lying between two branches
may be considered--even defined as--transitional between those two branches.
So, for example, all crocs can be considered as transitional between
squamates and birds. Whether it is meaningful to define transitional in this
manner must be left up to whomever is working with the groups under study.