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THEROPODS AS A 'BIRD FACTORY'
Tom Holtz, this one's for you.
Just came from the library with Sereno et al.'s _Suchomimus_ paper, as
well as our very own Dr. Holtz's perspectie article: _Spinosaurs as
Crocodile Mimics_. Both are excellent, however this post only pertains
to Dr. Holtz's article. Within, Dr. Holtz states something that is
"Theropod dinosaurs (bipedal, primarily carniviorous forms) have
received widespread attention in recent years owing to their importance
in understanding the origin of birds. However, the evolution of
theropods was more than a "bird factory": Indeed, these dinosaurs
represent one of the most successful radiations of terrestrial predators
in Earth history." Holtz, 1998; 1276.
Amen! Though I cannot say that my interest in theropods, or even
dinosaurs, extends far past the various birdlike forms as well as my
scientific love, class Aves, I must agree totally with the point that
attention should be given to Theropoda not just for their significance
in the origin of birds, but for their remarkable success and evolution.
Though I am being perhaps overly hypocritical, my own fascination with
theropods is that of the 'bird factory' mentality, I cannot deny that
the amount of scientific inquiry concerning non-avian or even
non-maniraptorifom theropods is not as high as the time given to
classifying Sauropterygia (a personal interest to me), deciphering the
early history of land plants, or even debunking or proving the notions
of the Sasquatch and Yeti. Yes, there have been many important works on
non-avian theropodian history, anatomy, evolution, systematics, and even
life history, but these works are far less than other scientific works
of the type aforementioned above. I do not want to say that we should
shift our focus on theropods from the origin of birds to other themes,
just that perhaps a little bit more attention shoud be given to their
other aspects. This does not count just for theropods, but for
sauropodomorphs and ornithischians (Pete Buchholz, you can cheer now).
Maybe I am misrepresenting the state of the study of theropods other
than their relevance in the origin of birds, but when you make a list of
the most frequently referred to theropod studies, or even the most
important and controversial, you will find there is a bit of a bias the
closer you get to the avian tree.
"...reinforce the idea that there is much more to theropod history than
the beginnings of avian flight." Holtz, 1998; 1277.
Yes, we seem to have forgotten the other ascepts of theropod study in
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