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RE: PALEONEWS:High-flying dinosaur's wings clipped

The article also confuses _Sinornithosaurus_ and _Sinosauropteryx_.

Much more importantly, it perpetuates the myth that "archaeoraptor" has
meant diddly squat with regards to the study of bird origins!!

Sorry, folks.  Excited statements by Czerkas in National Geographic to the
contrary, the specimen has not contributed a single item of evidence to the
debate.  Sure, if perhaps it had been in the technical literature for a
time, and indeed if a description existed beyond the National Geographic UV
photographs, it might have been significant.  But it never was described in
the technical literature: in fact, a paper on it *failed* peer review!
(This has come out in some of the newspaper articles).

"Archaeoraptor" never made it into anyone's published functional or
phylogenetic analyses.  It was not included, even as a forthcoming study, in
papers pro- or con-bird origins.  It's apparent chimerical nature (which is
almost certain, but let's wait for the published analysis on THAT, shall
we?) was uncovered before it could do damage to the Science of bird origins.

What damage it apparently caused is all surface.  Indeed, the main take-home
lessons from this event (e.g., don't publicize a specimen before the
description makes it through peer review; don't trust specimens whose
provenance datum is "Tuscon Rock Show"; etc.) have been overshadow by the
anti-dinosaurian origins of birds folks crowing how this "Piltdown Dinosaur"
overturns all previous studies.

Now, try and follow that logic: the discovery that a specimen which has not
been included in previous studies is found to be a false composite;
therefore, those previous studies which did *not* include it are somehow

Uh, yeah.  Right.  Okay...

Ah, well.  C'est la vie.

                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): 301-314-7843

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu]On Behalf Of
> Michael de Sosa
> Sent: Tuesday, February 08, 2000 12:11 PM
> To: bettyc@flyinggoat.com; dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject: Re: PALEONEWS:High-flying dinosaur's wings clipped
> Until that point, the most widespread theory was that birds evolved
> separately from and parallel to dinosaurs, from a common reptilian
> ancestor that roamed the earth more than 250 million years ago.
> *chokes on his Raisin Bran*
> Did I really just read that??
> --
> Michael A. de Sosa
> Undergraduate Student
> University of California - Berkeley
> ofsosa@uclink4.berkeley.edu
> "I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make
> as they fly by."  -Douglas Adams