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RE: Tracing the origins of an SVP urban legend...

> From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu]On Behalf Of
> Jerry D. Harris
> >Finally, a term coined at this year's SVP: autosymplesiomorphy: a
> primitive
> character found in only one taxon.<
>         ...also revealed was Dr. Holtz's alter-ego:  he is actually
> CLADO-MAN, who fights systematic injustice with the help of his utility
> belt, which contains the dread NODE-STEM TRIPLET.  ;-D

Who wages his eternal conflict against Baron Homoplasy and that dreaded
team, the Unresolved Polytomies!!

(Ah, well, I guess the secret is out.  No more pretending to be a
mild-mannered paleontologist from a suburban university... :-).

On a more serious topic, I finally got to see the latest report (in Science)
on the supposed Middle Triassic prosauropods from Madagascar.  While I
wouldn't be surprised at a Middle Triassic dinosaur per se (seeing as the
Carnian is the early part of the Late Triassic, and the
saurischian-ornithischian split had demonstrably occured by then), I wish
the support for the Middle Triassic Epoch for the unit was based on
something other than vertebrate biochronology.  Some good radiometric or
palynological or paleomag dates would go a long way in convincing me.

                Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                Vertebrate Paleontologist
Department of Geology           Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland          College Park Scholars
                College Park, MD  20742
Phone:  301-405-4084    Email:  tholtz@geol.umd.edu
Fax (Geol):  301-314-9661       Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-405-0796