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Re: DISSENT GOOD, CONFORMITY BAD



<<<Although some workers on the minority side of the origin of birds 
debate are very... uh... we won't go there.... ">>>

<<... presumably some episode or place where we had an alarming 
experience or two.  Well, Alan, Sankar and Larry Febo haven't shocked us 
too much have they?>>

I don't want to attack somebody personally (also partly because I don't 
want a timeout) so I won't say the name, but I will tell you that much 
has been coming out of this dude recently. Some good, reasonable stuff 
in print has come from him, but some of the media quotes...  

<<<"...others like Larry Martin and Johann Welman are constructing
alternative phylogenetic hypotheses based on actual evidence from 
fossils.">>>

<<I don't know of any on the minority side who haven't constructed
alternative phylogenetic hypotheses, and those are the ones who usually 
*don't* base their evidence on second order evidence from a 
philosophically speculative theory.>>

Larry Martin and Johann Welman have based their phylogenetic theories on 
fossil and/or neontological evidence.  Martin finds that crocodylomorphs 
come rather close to the construction of an avian sister-group (a close 
one at that) from braincase and dental evidence and Welman sees 
similiarities between _Euparkeria_ and birds in the braincase.  Even 
Tarsitano, who has been waiting for fossil evidence for his hypothesis 
for some time now, bases his theory partly on some of the plesiomorphic 
braincase features of birds.  Notice though, as Chiappe (1995) points 
out, too much emphasis seems to be coming from the braincase of birds 
and other fossil group.  This is OK, but obviously more evidence from 
the postcranial point of view needs to come through (Martin and Feduccia 
and Wild have come the closest; Martin finds a similiar development of 
the pectoral girdle in birds and crocs and Feduccia and Wild have found 
limited evidence from _Megalancosaurus_).  Regardless, the theropod 
hypothesis, whichever one you choose, comes out in the lead. 

Matt Troutman 
m_troutman@hotmail.com

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