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Re: theropod-bird eggshells

Gigi and Ralph,
Thanks for that abstract, which is very helpful, and strengthens my interest in the eggshell microstructure. It was actually the eggshell article (in the online Encyclopaedia of Dinosaurs) that first got me interested. The phylogenetic implications almost jump out at you, without all the arguments and counterarguments surrounding other characters (like digit homologies---which give me a headache).
I guess it isn't surprising that Feduccia's book seems to be totally silent on the subject of eggshell microstructure. Although I agree with Feduccia and Martin on the subject of purely cladistic "classification", I certainly cannot condone their disdain for cladistic "analysis" in general. Cladistic analysis is sometimes done badly, and this should be criticized, but attacking cladistic analysis across the board is unproductive and I think this tends to make the so-called "Feducciaries" even more extreme.
If the cladists got this one right, I think they deserve credit for it, but of course, this doesn't mean I will stop classifying birds as a separate Class. Unless Feduccia and Martin come up with better counterarguments, I plan to continue (as I did in 1994) showing Order Ornithischiformes as sister to Order Saurischiformes---- and the latter Order semi-paraphyletically giving rise to a separate Class for birds. The whole Longisquama press-spectacle still makes me cringe----not only embarrassing, but in my opinion it isn't nearly as informative as the eggshell microstructure. Finally a character I can really get my teeth into, and I can get away from digit homologies and proto-feathers for a while.
Thanks again, Ken Kinman
From: Gigi and Ralph <gbabcock@best.com>
Reply-To: gbabcock@best.com
To: kinman@hotmail.com, dinosaur@usc.edu
Subject: Re: theropod-bird eggshells
Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2000 12:53:08 -0700

Quoting the Chiappe and Grellet-Tinner abstract, _DINOSAUR EGGSHELLS AND THE ORIGIN
OF BIRDS_, from the Florida Symposium on Dinosaur Bird Evolution, Ralph wrote:

> " Recent spectacular discoveries
> of dinosaur eggs containing embryos or eggs associated with brooding parents
> have furnished data confidently anchor eggshell characters with specific taxa."

Amend that to read "...furnished data to confidently anchor eggshell characters
with specific taxa."

-- Ralph W. Miller III gbabcock@best.com

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