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Bakker Defense

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Message text written by INTERNET:diverben@yahoo.com

"Here's another for the defense.  All the Bakker-bashers will be happy
to know that it was Bakker who described the elected type specimen of
- Homo sapiens!  And the the specimen - the skull of Edward Drinker

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        First, a correction:  as it turned out later, Bakker simply didn't
know that there already _was_ a type specimen of _H. sapiens_ -- as I
recall, it was Linneus himself.

        Second, I wouldn't classify myself as a Bakker-basher, since it was
his book that reinterested me in dinosaurs and paleontology, but being
involved in the field professionally, I have observed him making several
bad moves, scientifically, and I have lost some scientific respect for him
as a result.  I have also had some minimal interaction with him personally,
which I will admit left a sour taste in my mouth (although he's certainly
not alone in this regard!)  My only really big gripe about him is that he
usually refuses to put his theories into the scientific, peer-reviewed
literature (moreso since the early '80s than prior to that); instead, he
takes his wild and usually unfounded ideas straight to the public (via TV
and/or popular magazine articles)...the public believes him to be a
spokesperson for the field of dinosaur paleontology as a whole, and so they
take his word as virtual gospel of what _all_ paleontologists think, which
is, of course, frequently the exact opposite of the true situation, and the
rest of we paleontologists are left to clean up after him (as it were).  To
be blunt, this isn't how science should work.

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Jerry D. Harris                         (505) 841-2865
Fossil Preparation Lab                
New Mexico Museum of Natural History        
1801 Mountain Rd NW                           
Albuquerque  NM  87104-1375             102354.2222@compuserve.com