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Re: Brontosaurus/Apatosaurus (Was Re: Novel way to reconstructa skull) -Reply

>I also think that the damage done by backstabbing and not being up front with
>well-supported opinions about other people is far worse and slimier than
>anything I ever said about anyone on the list. (And Bakker was quite good at
>this sort of thing himself, I might add.) Think of the time, paper, and
>reputations of coauthors that could have been saved/spared had there been a
>couple of well-placed warnings about Gupta and his Himalayan trilobites. If,
>for example, someone feels that I have not been entirely honest or have been
>incompetent in my own research and writing on dinosaurs, I would like to know
>about it directly, so that I could act to correct the situation instead of
>further wasting the time of my readers and myself. This presents much less of
>a problem for me than the kind of behind-the-back chittering that goes on
>"over a third pitcher late during the last night of SVP."

This will be my last comment on this issue.

The reason much of our chittering is done "behind the back" is:

1.  Much of it is rumor, with little or no hard supporting evidence;

2.  Very little of it constitutes real academic dishonesty as much as
academic silliness or pettiness;

3.  We do as much behind-the-back praising as rumormongering;

4.  We recognize the difference between a person's worth and his or her

If you have specific charges of academic dishonesty to bring against
someone, you should take them, along with whatever supporting documentation
you might have, to that person's current academic institution. That's what
would have saved the community against Gupta's dishonesty. Real documented
cases of lying or violations of ethics are made public, but not via
something like a listserver.  A public forum is not the place for them.  I
could just as easily claim that this George Olshevsky person is
full-of-dung and incapable of telling the truth that he belongs in
politics, and even though none of it would be true, and despite a complete
lack of evidence on my part, I could probably get the rumors rolling.

On a dinosaurian note - the latest Journal of Molecular Evolution has a
paper on the complete mitochondrial genome of the Rhea and the
phylogenetics of birds.  They have the ratites DEEP within Aves - I don't
buy it at all, so it'll be interesting to see what additional bird
sequences do to the rooting.


Christopher Brochu

Postdoctoral Research Scientist
Department of Geology
Field Museum of Natural History
Lake Shore Drive at Roosevelt Road
Chicago, IL  60605  USA

phone:  312-922-9410, ext. 469
fax:  312-922-9566