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<<This is indeed what the work of David Martill (Southampton University)
has shown me recently and that he will be publishing soon.We are very
close to have full, hard evidence of avian sacs in theropod dinosaurs...
and not only hollow bones. I have seen them and even if they are are not
*completely* clear (to my eyes), they are better evidence than mere
traces or organs that nobody can be sure of what they are.>>
Cool. This is something that I have been hoping for since the beginning
of this whole debate. I'll hold my tongue until it is published.
<<No, it's not hearsay. The argument that birds and dinosaurs are not
directly related (just distantly and a 'thecodontian' level) is what he
have been defending from the very beginning. Everyone of his recent
talks have been directed to try to demonstrate this, making him closest
to Feduccia's arguments.>>
Even if this were true, what is wrong about it? Differing opinions help
make science science. From what I have heard and read, Ruben has never
really come down on either side of the debate. Last time I checked, he
was arguing for a close relation between birds and theropods, and
indirectly some 'thecodontian' groups, just not in the
Padian-Holtz-Gauthier-Currie-etc way, but the Raath way with pinches of
Olshevsky. One thing that troubles me greatly is the attitude that
there is something wrong with somebody who argues against the
theropod-bird link. True, the theropod-bird link seems stronger than
ever, and I support it, but there have been some studies that indicate
overwise. But rather than sitting back and evaluating the evidence
carefully, people look at the tenative conclusions and dismiss off-hand.
That is not science. Not that I am saying that the other side doesn't
do the same thing on occasion, it is wrong either way. I am trying to
keep an open mind about the debate and I even have sympathy for some of
the alternative hypotheses, but based on the evidence at hand, I support
the theropod-bird hypothesis. Tomorrow, who knows? Ralph Chapman
pointed out recently that people like Chiappe and Holtz are willing to
reconsider their most treasured hypotheses, and I applaud them with all
of my heart. That is what science is, not a desperate clinging to
pet-theories and conjectures. What people like Ruben, Tarsitano,
Martin, Welman, and to a lesser extent (or a larger extent) Feduccia do
is introduce new evidence and insights into a rapidly conformist debate
that will either strengthen or weaken the hypothesis.
So no one should speak (overly) snidely about the dissenters. Their job
is important, perhaps even more than the supporters.
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