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RE: Larry Martin/Jack Horner "Debate"



Too bad they didn't ask several Paleontologists on this list to debate
Martin. :-)  Or, even Robert Bakker.  But, I sadly, suspect that no amount
of scholarly persuasion could budge the Birds Are Not Dinosaurs away from
their paradigm.
But, take heart, we ran into the same problem with that whole radical, round
earth thing 500 years ago.  

Dwight

        -----Original Message-----
        From:   Keith90291@aol.com [SMTP:Keith90291@aol.com]
        Sent:   Tuesday, March 23, 1999 10:44 AM
        To:     dinosaur@usc.edu
        Subject:        Larry Martin/Jack Horner "Debate"

        On Sunday, March 21, The Natural History Museum of L.A. County
hosted 
        a two hour debate between Martin and Horner on the subject "Did
Dinos 
        Soar?"  Since a notice of the impending event was posted on list, I
thought 
        I'd submit a thumbnail review of it.  

        For the most part, the debate was a no-show.

        Apparently, Kevin Padian originally had been lined up to present the
views of 
        the Birds-from-Dinosaurs camp.  His apparent withdrawl resulted in 
        Horner being drafted as a substitute -- and practically an unwilling
one at 
        that.   Horner claimed (or feigned) no particular interest in the
subject of
        avian-dinosaur relationships. When he wasn't being jocular or
self-effacing,
        Horner
        was playing for broad laughs as when he donned a dinosaur
hand-puppet and
        growled during Martin's presentation and with his inclusion of a
picture from 
        "The Lost World" to illustrate theropod behavior.

        Martin's case against a dino-bird relationship revolved around the
contentions
        that (a) Sinosauropteryx's feathers are collagen fibers, (b) the
three-
        fingered 
        theropod manus is comprised of digits 1-2-3 while the birds' is
2-3-4 and (c)
        the semilunate carpals of birds and dinosaurs are striking
dissimular (sorry--
        the slides comparing these features of birds and dinosaurs were so
miniscule
        and murky that I don't feel competent to represent his points.)
Martin
        said that he had been told by one of the Chinese scientists that
they'd 
        recovered a Sinosauropteryx specimen with a skin impressions, and
Martin 
        felt that the specimen would put to rest the issue of the presence
of feathers
        when and if they're produced (sic).

        In the rebuttal period, Horner recapped his histology work and
displayed
        slides 
        of longitudinal sections of the ends of bird and dinosaur limbs
showing a 
        striking similarity in the characteristics of "cartilage and marrow
canals"
        (i.e.
        canals arising in the cartilaginous material penetrate the bone and
join with 
        marrow canals)-- and the absence of this feature in crocodilian
bones.