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Re: climbing dromaeosaurs and friends

----- Original Message -----
From: "Scott Hartman" <scott_hartman@hotmail.com>
To: <cbennett@bridgeport.edu>; <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Sunday, December 10, 2000 9:59 PM
Subject: Re: climbing dromaeosaurs and friends

> Chris,
>      Sorry about the delay in response, but I've had some trouble deciding
> what tact to take.  Some aspects of your email seemed almost personal, and
> didn't always understand what point you where trying to make...

And then skip to:

>      If you were unhappy over the level of detail I'd provided on this
> aspect, you are always welcome to request it, but unless I'm over
> your remarks seemed like an attack on my standards of evidence.

I think you may be over reacting because I was not attempting to attack you
or your discussion, only to point out what I viewed a minor errors.  Indeed,
I do not in any of my comments mean to attack any individual, even though I
may disagree with them.  My point about your comment in your previous
message reproduced below:

> All of the Archeo specimens, despite their myriad
> preservational positions, preserve the hind limbs in a parasagital plane
> (even when the forelimbs aren't).  Yet the far majority of articulated
> Solenhofen pterosaurs are preserved with the hind limbs in separate planes
> of articulation.  Clearly something functional is different between these
> taxa.

was intended to suggest that although the hip function differs between
Archaeopteryx and pterosaurs, that difference is not evidence that
Archaeopteryx could not move its hindlimb out of a parasagittal plane or
climb trees, as you seemed to be suggesting.  My intention was not to
necessarily disagree with your conclusions, but merely to point out that I
find that particular argument unconvincing.

As for your apparent suggestion that my statement:

> ("...but this should not be a surprise to anyone given an understanding of
> the morphology of its hip joint.")

was equivalent to your statement:

> The utter
> lack of acceptance of this idea is evidence itseld...,

as for that, I do not agree.  My statement cited hip morphology as evidence
supporting an interpretation, while your's cited the lack of acceptance.
Had you said there were mountains of evidence against Larry Martin's ideas I
would have agreed with you, but I hope you will acknowledge that some
theories that have later won general acceptance (e.g, plate tectonics) have
suffered through years of non-acceptance by the majority of scientists in a

In closing, may I inquire whether you think that I was wrong when I
suggested that lack of acceptance of an idea was not appropriate evidence
against that idea or that the difference between the hindlimb functions of
pterosaurs and Archaeopteryx was not necessarily evidence that Archaeopteryx
was not an arboreal scansor?


S. Christopher Bennett, Ph.D.
Asst. Prof. of Basic Sciences
College of Chiropractic
University of Bridgeport
Bridgeport, CT  06601-2449