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Re: Selected quotes from Qiang et al......

Joshua Smith wrote:
>       WE have only recently begun to get "real" data to SUPPORT the 
>bird-dinosaur hypothesis, as well.  We need to remember that many of our 
>interpretations of many avian anatomical characters are just 
>that--interpretations-- based on our ASSUMPTIONS that we understand which 
>characters are primitive and which characters are derived and which bumps 
>on skulls are, in fact, significant.
        I am not sure I understand the distinction between the
interpretation of evidence as we had it in the past and the interpretation
of evidence as we have it now (for, as you point out, we are still
interpreting). How are interpretations of the skeletal elements of
_Archaeopteryx_ and _Deinonychus_ any different from interpretations of the
skeletal elements of _Caudipteryx_, _Archaeopteryx_ and _Deinonychus_? A
form we interpret as a feather on _Caudipteryx_ seems no different from a
form we interpret as a feather on _Archaeopteryx. We are certainly gathering
*more* data (which is always good), but I do not see a fundamental change in
the character of the data itself ("reality" or whathaveyou). We still
interpret, no matter how obvious those interpretations may seem. Remember
the old cry: "Every eight-year-old knows what a bird is!"
        What is it that we no longer have to assume? What is different about
recent data, as opposed to that old data that Ostrom and Gauthier worked with?
        That's a lot of questions. Something tells me there's a simple
answer, and it involves me not understanding your point... :)

>We think we know what is going on, but then they thought they knew what was
>going on when they described _Trachadon_, too. 
        This is the oldest story in the book. If we haven't learned by now,
we deserve what we get...

    Jonathan R. Wagner, Dept. of Geosciences, TTU, Lubbock, TX 79409-1053
                    "...To fight legends." - Kosh Naranek