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Paleogaffe in NATURAL HISTORY Magazine



I just posted the following to the American Museum of Natural History's
NATURAL HISTORY magazine, but wanted to share the gaffe with all you good
people:
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On page 51 in Niles Eldridge's article "Life in the Balance" (June 1998),
there is a paleontologic gaffe deserving of observation.  In the "Birds" box
on that page, Eldridge says:

    "From ostriches to sparrows, birds find their 
    closest relatives among the extinct sauropod dinosaurs, 
    which included the likes of Tyrannosaurus rex and the 
    huge brontosaurians."

Not so.  Not only was T. rex neither a sauropod nor a "brontosaurian,"
whatever that is, but the birds are most closely related to _theropod_
dinosaurs, among which, yes, the T. rex also belongs.

Sauropods, the familiar long-necked herbivores, were quite another group of
animals.  It is among them that the above-cited "brontosaurians" are more
properly situated.  

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John C. McLoughlin
Box 4416  
Taos, NM  87571  
USA     
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