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Scipionyx from someone who's seen it...

My subject line actually describes a message that I'm going to enclose
here, but before I get to it, it looks like I'm a bit overdue for my
weekly administrative rant.

While precise terminology is important in science, correcting
terminology (particularly wrt non-technical words) frequently isn't.
Try to keep in mind that our purpose here is to communicate not teach
people how to communicate.  Should we really care whose definition of
refute predates alternate usages?

Also, keep in mind that if you don't like something you've seen sent
out on the list and the thing you didn't like about it is unrelated to
science then you shouldn't respond via the list.  Write to me, Mary,
the original author or any combination of the three.  If you want to
write to any other friends, enemies or relatives that can be ok too,
but if your message isn't directly about dinosaur science then most
probably it doesn't belong here.

On a different note, if you ever stop receiving mail from the dinosaur
list and want to know what's up you have three options (I hope to add
a section on this to the administrative page before the end of the

Write to listproc@usc.edu with the text of your message consisting of

set dinosaur

If listproc tells you you're subscribed and your mail mode is anything
other than "postpone" then there's no problem related to your
subscription.  Option two, check the archive:


to see if it contains messages you haven't yet received.  If not then
chances are high that nothing's been sent or the problem is more
general than just getting mail to you in particular.  Option three
(which I put last mainly because it will be the slowest) write to me
and ask if you should be getting mail.  Note that writing to the list
is >>_*NOT*_<< an option.  That falls under "unrelated to dinosaur
science".  Thanks for your cooperation.

Now for the fun stuff.  The following was submitted by:

Cristiano Dal Sasso (cdalsasso@yahoo.com)

Please respond to that address directly if you wish Michela to see
your response.

---------- beginning of forwarded message ----

Dear all,
It is very hard to follow all the debate on scipionyx currently on the
web, but I cannot ignore the high amount of absurdities that some people
are writing about. I have the honor to be one of the few people that
still have the official permission to examine and study Scipionyx.
Please, check my paper on Nature (26 march 1998), and THEN make your
observations. Despite the NYT article and the following comments, there
are no heart remains  in Scipionyx. EVERY preserved soft tissue is
briefly but carefully described in Nature, which was the first
scientific report ever published. The recent Science paper (Ruben et
al., 15 jan. 1999) adds some changes with respect to the liver volume
and position, but, again, no heart is visible under UV lights.
Sincerely yours
Cristiano Dal Sasso
Museo di Storia Naturale, Milano, Italy.
e mail: cdalsasso@yahoo.com