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Is he really afraid of snakes?
Speaking as an outsider to dinosaurology, I for one am grateful for people
like Bob Bakker, mainly for their willingness to take the heat for
proposing bold hypotheses. It doesn't really concern me whether his ideas
are ultimately right or wrong, although I notice that many of his
"heresies" are now widely accepted. I have read so much from
paleontologists who, in the face of evidence begging for a leap of
imagination, give vague, lifeless explanations. And I am very weary of
hearing, "We will never really know that," because some people are too
lazy-minded to come up with ways of testing bold hypotheses.
Bob Bakker obviously lacks nothing in the boldness department. What I have
read from him indicates that he has done a lot of fairly painstaking
research and has a pretty thorough understanding of morphology, physiology,
and ecology. Of course I disagree with many of his conclusions,
particularly his ideas about macro-competition between major taxa. But I
see nothing wrong with his scientific method.
Does that mean we shouldn't make fun of him? Au contraire. Good-natured
abuse is what I do best. Is he really terrified of snakes as was suggested
in The Lost World? If so, what a wussy. He should have his macho maverick
rebel-without-a-clue hat taken away.