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Weird mammals/weird science!



In Penny et al 1999 Mammalian Evolution: Timing and Implications from
Using the Log Determinant Transform for Proteins of Differing Amino Acid
Composition. Syst. Biol.48:76-93--(thanks to Tom Holtz for the ref.) the
authors give us tantalizing tidbits: carnassial teeth at the K/T have
been found in Uzbekistan--they are usually diagnostic of Carnivora!!!;
and unpublished data supporting disappearance of small dinosaurs well
before the end of the Cretaceous

 Then they go into a plea for what they call the
"data first, then scenario" approach--"collect the data (sequences or
fossils) and then come up with an explanation...Building up an
infrastructure of knowledge is important, but only in the context of a
productive theoretical framework." (I think this is Darwinian, right?).

This is the justification for their own "scenario".  I think they are
intentionally vague (probably not wanting to be slammed for over
speculation) but they _seem_ to be arguing (though they apparently confuse
the terms "competition" and "predation") that diversifying mammals may
have been responsible for the early disappearance of small dinosaurs; and
that they did it by preying on immature forms.

The syntax is very strange.  I hope someone else can read it and pinch me
please!

In any case, I support their conclusion: "Now that the mammalian tree is
becoming better resolved there are renewed questions of testing a wider
range (of) biological hypotheses."