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Re: Sauropod Necks
I know I shouldn't bite at this Matt-bait...<<<
Of course you should, that's how these discussion get interesting ;)
But scientific enough to get published in Science? I would argue the
dinomorph project is scientific because it allows us to test hypotheses,
propose new ones, make predictions, and, when they get it out to
everybody like they plan, it is and will be repeatable. And the results
are definitely falsifiable. <<<
I wasn't implying that is was pseudoscience, merely that it could use a bit
more rigorousness in testing it on extant animals. Perhaps "could be more
rigorous" ss what I should have said.
Although they haven't published it, they did test DinoMorph out on a
giraffe cervical series, and they achieved similar movements that are
seen in living giraffes. I know they presented this at one of the SVP
meetings, I believe the 1996 one in New York, but unfortunately this
result is not printed in their abstracts (which is too bad). In any
case, more of this sort of work is planned to test the accuracy of the
They did mention the giraffe study, and while I'm not questioning
their integrity, I still want to see it published. I'd also like to see the
margin of errors fromt he different steps compared in greater detail than in
the Science paper.
Furthermore, Parrish and Stevens recognized that for all vertebrates, the
two areas of motion between verts occur at the zygapophyses and the
Yes, fine, this is all perfectly reasonable.
Parrish and Steven are just linking the bones together based on joint
geometry with a few restrictions based on analysis of extant vertebrate
Which ones? Were all the restriction the same (yeah right, like that
picture of the camel with its neck resting along its back at last years SVP,
and if not, how did they decide which ones were most relevant? Has that
My point here is that when, say de Ricqles began to research bone
histology, he did a fairly comprehensive examination of extant vertebrate
bone histology to accompany his work on dinosaur histology, and I believe
something similar should be done with Dinomorph. That is the "metric" to
which I referred, the ability to corellate the tool with a wide range of
examples to ensure the tools widespread applicability.
However -- Parrish and Stevens were just as surprised as everyone that
the necks of the diplodocids were far more horizontally oriented than
How is this relevant to my questions? I'm not impugning their
results, nor their personal intergrity as researchers. I just think the
technique needs a lot more independant corroboration with extant animals.
And with all the popular media depictions of sauropods with vertical
necks, how could you be sure your subject for the double-blind
experiment, a person not chosen at random because they have to be
familiar with the DinoMorph program, would be unbiased toward the
vertical orientation? How is this double-blind? <<<<
Becuse I meant that this should be done on future tests of _extant_ taxa.
Therefore the only requirement is that the researcher not be able to
identify the cervical series while measurements were taken.
Notice, once again, I actually think their resualts are _probably_ correct,
or close to it, and furthermore the amount of techhnical expertise put into
this project is enourmous and to be commended. But I still think a lot more
sweat work (extant taxa)needs to be done before the glory work (dinosaur
necks) should commence in full swing.
Please do! =) You can send me a big old wad of cash anytime<<<
Alas, Matt, at the moment I could, at best, send you a big wad of dimes.
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