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Re: "Dinosaurs don't count"



Allan Edels wrote:

<James Trefil states that:  "...dinosaurs, because
they were land animals rarely left fossils, and you
have a situation where the kind of fossil that is most
interesting to the public is probably least
interesting to scientists"....
 
  The truth is the majority of the public know
dinosaurs as gigantic beasts long extinct.  When a new
dinosaur is found (even today), the bigger the better
as far as the public or media coverage is concerned. 
This view Trefil seems to want to puncture by saying
that "dinosaurs don't count" - i.e. what is truly
interesting science is not necessarily the behemoths
of the Mesozoic, rather it is the smaller, less famous
fossils that scientists crave for the detail
information that they may retain.>

  Take last year, for example. Who excited the most
awe and excitement for dinosaurs, the most controversy
being incited or re-excited? *Caudipteryx* or
*Suchomimus*? The dino-bird link has always amazed us,
always made us wonder, think, and speculate; for some
it's a foregone conclusion, others, something to shoot
down. I mean, there are some good arguments, believe
it or not, on both sides of the fence. But when it
comes down to "Origin of Birds" and "Functional
Morphology", the focus of the debate on the second
dinosaur above, which has truly caused us to think, to
compare, to scribble out our figures and lever models.
Was Sucho able to snap sideways or up and down or
backward, and if so, what could be said of this, and
how could someone say it wasn't so and prove it?

  I think size certainly has something to do with it,
and the smaller, more feathery, the better, the
bigger, the more fantastical, the better. But hey,
back when this whole "bigger, best specimens _only_"
deal, it was turn of the century, and they were
pullings rexes, duckbills, and trikes out of the
ground in the americas, titan saurpods all over, and
everyone was ignoring the little fellers except the
purists. The media craved the super, the huge, and the
museums and collecters gave them what they wanted, but
aside from the biggest and best, we did get
*Elaphrosaurus*, *Oviraptor*, *Chirostenotes* (hey,
who am I to argue?) plus these newest little tidbits,
like the Isle of Wight stuff that's pouring out, and
Cedar Mountain is a gold mine! But the media could
_gawk_ at the brontosaurs and trannosaursuses like
they really wouldn't for the itter bitter ones ...
except for the purists. Sternberg collected what he
found, as did Granger and Young. They got the little
and the big, and did not seem to mind the littler's,
and we're all thankful for that.

  My piece, your peace,

===
- Greek proverb: "Knowledge is Inherent;
  Stupidity is Learned." -

Jaime A. Headden

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