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Re: Eggs,Embryos,and Birds

John V Jackson wrote:

>  From: Ralph W. Miller III <gbabcock@best.com>
> >It has since turned out -- on the basis
> >of a "nesting" _Troodon_ atop such a clutch -- that these "_Orodromeus_"
> eggs
> >were in fact _Troodon_ eggs.
> [snip]
> Does anyone have a reference/url for this?

Varrichio, D. J., Jackson, F., Borlowski, J., and Horner, J. R. (1997). Nest and
egg clutches of the dinosaur _Troodon formosus_ and the evolution of avian
reproductive traits. _Nature_ 385, Letters to _Nature_, 247-350.

For your information, the _Nature_ site is at <www.nature.com>.

In his "Behavior" paper in Currie and Padian's _Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs_
(p.47), John R. Horner writes:

"The only cases of direct parental care, however, are the association of the
adult _Oviraptor_ on the clutch of eggs discovered in Mongolia (Norell et al.,
1996) and a partial _Troodon_ skeleton found atop a clutch of eggs (Varrichio et
al., 1997)."

> I would agree that birds are probably dinos though of course I would doubt
> some of the evidence Ralph accepts.  The basis for most of the common belief
> rests on just two accidents:
> 1)  The existing mindset of "the hunt for the *origins* of birds" by those
> who noticed the  _Deinonychus_/ Archy similarities, biasing the field
> towards an ancestor relationship;

...and resulting in what interpretive errors?   Are you suggesting that the
similarities are all convergences?  What evidence that I accept do you doubt?
Please be specific.

> 2)  A bug in the commonly used basic cladistic algorithm which forces
> flightless forms together.

What bug is this, and where has the alleged arthropod led scientists astray?
How do you know that your viewpoint is not similarly afflicted by a bug of some

> Once freed from these two, the picture makes perfect sense, with no
> unpleasant paradoxes.

What picture?  If birds are not derived theropod dinosaurs in your opinion, what
fossil creatures would you propose represent their nearest ancestors?

>  The fact that many have fallen prey to the two points
> above does not constitute a conspiracy, just a fashion.  Groups of people
> following similar lines of action or belief rarely initiate it as a result
> of coordinated
> action, and don't usually ever coordinate it explicitly.  JJ

That's a relief.

Ralph Miller III <gbabcock@best.com>

Termites are boring insects, but bugs suck.