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Re: Phylogeny vs. taxonomy, and the Fightin' Dinos exhibit at AMNH (was RE: Rock'n'roll !)

One comment about the lighting at the AMNH fighting dinosaurs exhibit. The
exhibit is designed quite nicely for anyone interested in taking photos
because the lack of ambient light (and windows) eliminates virtually all
reflections on the glass cases surrounding many of the specimens. This is
not the case in the AMNH main dinosaur hall where the great abundance of
ambient light and windows make it nearly impossible to get a clear photo of
any of the specimens, almost all of which are positioned behind protective
glass dividers. So, in regard to the design of the fighting dinosaur
exhibit, I have to commend Norell for taking this into consideration.

Unfortunately, the two specimens that are nearly impossible to photograph
very well are the fighting dinosaurs themselves. They are enclosed in a
glass box and you can't really get a clear shot of the entire thing unless
you were suspended overhead by about ten feet. Close-ups are possible, but
the entire span of the specimen is difficult to capture on film without
getting the corners and edges of the glass enclosure.

--Thom Holmes
dinosaur author at large

> From: "Thomas R. Holtz, Jr." <tholtz@geol.umd.edu>
> Date: Wed, 9 Aug 2000 16:05:15 -0400
> To: <ELurio@aol.com>, <kinman@hotmail.com>, <dinosaur@usc.edu>
> Subject: Phylogeny vs. taxonomy, and the Fightin' Dinos exhibit at AMNH (was
> RE: Rock'n'roll !)
> Eric Lurio wrote:
>> In a message dated 8/9/00 10:08:32 AM, kinman@hotmail.com writes:
> << Tony,
> If you ask a strict cladist, he (or she) will probably answer that there
> are still dinosaurs living----namely  birds.
> Many of the rest of us would say that birds are "dinosaur descendants",
> but that we choose not to call them dinosaurs.>>
>> How come when I said pretty much the same thing I got slammed six ways to
>> sunday and got kicked off temporarily for "flaming?"
> But Eric, you did not say "pretty much the same thing".
> Ken is writing that he would agree that birds are the descendants of
> dinosaurs (a statement of phylogeny), but that it is inappropriate to
> classify birds as a type of dinosaur (a statement of taxonomy).
> You argued that birds are not the descendants of dinosaurs: again, a
> statement of phylogeny
> Welcome back.
> By the way, a chance to remark on the Fighting Dinosaurs exhibit at the
> American Museum:
> Got to see the display yesterday (along with Greg Paul, Matt Lamanna, Josh
> Smith, Bob Walters, Tess Kissinger & Bruce Mohn).
> Excellent, excellent fossils.  Okay, ornithischian fans will find it wanting
> (a nice growth series of _Protoceratops_ and a _Pinacosaurus_ skull), but
> very good lizards, mammals, and coelurosaurs.  The latter include:
> Two large nesting oviraptorids: Big Mama and an undescribed one.  Very good
> clear ossified uncinate processes on the undescribed one.
> The "love bird" oviraptorids.
> The skull of a tall crested oviraptorid.
> The type skull of _Velociraptor mongoliensis_ and a new _Velociraptor_
> skeleton.
> A new robust-skulled dromaeosaur (only the skull on display).
> A troodontid nest with hatchling bones.
> The type _Byronosaurus_ snout.
> The type of _Shuvuuia_, including postcranial material.
> and, one that was new to me:
> A new taxon of small coelurosaur (not much bigger than _Rahonavis_ or
> _Archaeopteryx_) with a troodontid-like postcranium and teeth, but
> (apparently) without a postorbital (a la the condition in birds).  In fact,
> the skull of this creature is very similar to Chatterjee's reconstruction of
> _Protoavis_!!
> Of course, the fighting dinosaur pair themselves.
> Also, so feathery reconstructions of the coelurosaurs (I like the _Shuvuuia_
> color patterns), a CG reconstruction of the Fight.
> Two major drawbacks with the exhibit: it is expensive to get into ($15 for
> the museum + this exhibit), and the lighting is horrible (so much so that
> some of the signage is unreadable).
> Still, definitely worth it.
> Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
> Vertebrate Paleontologist
> Department of Geology  Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
> University of Maryland  College Park Scholars
> College Park, MD  20742
> http://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholtz/tholtz.htm
> http://www.geol.umd.edu/~jmerck/eltsite
> Phone: 301-405-4084 Email: tholtz@geol.umd.edu
> Fax (Geol):  301-314-9661 Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-314-7843