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I guess I'll throw in my two cents on the Bakker thing. I have in the past
been critical of Bob for not publishing in the primary literature as much as
he should because it undercuts the rest of the things he is doing. I think
he is working towards fixing this and I welcome it.
I also have to admit I get along with Bob extremely well and enjoy my
conversations with him whenever we overlap, which happily is more
often these days as he goes to more meetings. I very frequently
disagree with him but, as most people know, this hardly removes him
from my respect and might even enhance it. At times, Bob seems to take
positions that are intended to tick people off - like his suggestion that
paleontologists were looting Wyoming of its dinosaur fossils - and this
can be trying. I don't mind purposeful (probably not a word) attempts to
stir the pot but they have to be done carefully.
When he chooses to do standard papers they can be done extremely
well and, again, I wish he would do more of them.
I am awed at his ability to handle the media. He is a walking sound bite
and the media love it. I hope to get half as good at it someday. If
anything, I fault the media, especially TV, for being so dependent on
redundancy and shallow discussions of the same thing over and over. I
do wish Bob would play down his Hollywood connection because, as
has been pointed out, Horner, Gurche & Greg Paul probably have had
more effect there, as well as others. Hallet and Henderson have had
greater visual effects along with Gurche and Greg than Bob has had any
effect. You can watch Jurassic Park and see a Gurche scene, etc. I do
not resent Bob for playing up his public image in ads, however, any more
than I resent Sereno for being one of the 100 most beautiful people. It's
worth giving them a ration of kidding over, but that is just fun.
I believe Bob's Deinonychus illustration, along with the Stegoceras one,
to be the start of the modern period of dinosaur illustration, so there is
great influence there in addition to his being the main acolyte of the
dinosaur revolution (Ostrom is the father and Dodson, by requiring more
quantitative work, the conscience).
So, although I would change some of what Bob does and some of the
rough spots he has had in the past - I wish he would be more careful
about giving other paleontologists credit when talking about their work
and he needs to more proactive (Gov't word) here (I have not had a
problem that I know of) - I am happy with my interactions with him and
look forward to more, and hopefully more real papers that will help him
maintain a level of rigor in his work which gives him a better basis for
doing the more popular stuff.