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Re: Ostrom Symposium - Part 2

At 08:41 PM 2/17/99 -0500, Ron Orenstein wrote:
>On to Part Two of my recollections of the Ostrom Symposium, helped along by
>whatever notes I could scribble down at the time.  I appreciate Tom Holtz
>for filling in some of the genuine science, though I am sorry if he thought
>my asking five questions over the course of two days amounted to hogging
>the microphone.

It was a joke, dammit, a joke...  (Sheesh...)  Heck, as you point out, at
least your questions were among the most pertinent.

>Well, if you don't ask, you don't know, and at least I
>didn't ask how small cursorial dinosaurs could avoid tripping over
>vegetation or why flying birds hadn't lost their legs altogether (I had
>better say that the last question was asked by John Ostrom himself, and I
>admit I'm still not altogether sure what he was driving at).

Because it was the original basis for Ostrom recognizing the cursorial
origin: birds, unlike other flying and gliding vertebrates, do nor
incorporate the hindlimb into the flight membrane, but instead retain full
non-flight locomotory function of them.  (Okay, except for apodiforms).

>One interesting historical footnote from the floor:  Thomas Huxley was not
>the first to suggest a link between dinosaurs and birds.  Huxley apparently
>cited the work of a German embryologist named Gegenbauer (?), who suggested
>the connection after his study of chick embryos, which he saw as quite
>dinosaur-like.  Does anyone out there know more about this?

Carl Gegenbaur is briefly discussed in Dingus & Rowe's The Mistaken
Extinction, in chapt. 10.  The pertinent reference is:

Gegenbaur, C. 1863.  Vergleichend-anatomische bemerkungen u:ber das
Fusskelet der Vo:gel.  Archiv fu:r Anatomie, Physiologie und
wissenschaftliche Medicin 1863: 450-472.

(Gegenbaur compares the ankle of birds to the then-just discovered

I don't have my copy of Larry Witmer's review of bird origins (in the Origin
of Major Tetrapod Groups volume) handy, but I believe he discusses Gegenbaur
in there as well.

I can't remember who it was (Tim Rowe) who commented that no one really
discovers anything new: some 19th Century German actually already published
that idea in a comparative anatomy paper...

(Or, for my own work, it's a 20th Century German, namely Freidrich von Huene).

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Vertebrate Paleontologist     Webpage: http://www.geol.umd.edu
Dept. of Geology              Email:tholtz@geol.umd.edu
University of Maryland        Phone:301-405-4084
College Park, MD  20742       Fax:  301-314-9661