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Re: Tarbosaurus?



In a message dated 7/25/00 11:27:12 PM EST, jeffmartz@earthlink.net writes:

<< If you can have isolated situations in which a population is sampled very 
unevenly, how do you know that more of those types of situiations haven't 
occured in one formation then the other? >>

You don't. But you assume it unless you have reason to think otherwise. You 
can't know in advance what the situation will turn out to be at a particular 
locality, what factors are important and what factors are not operating. As 
in cladistics: all characters are equally weighted, even though it >must< be 
true that such a weighting is quite arbitrary. Waving your hands at a problem 
and saying that it's a really complex situation just causes "analysis 
paralysis."

Bakker's thesis that predator-prey ratios can provide a handle on dinosaur 
metabolism is perfectly good, but everybody disregards his argument because 
of taphonomic "analysis paralysis." They can't get by the taphonomy and 
collection biases to see the underlying truth of his argument. (Never thought 
I'd be defending Bakker's ideas in an open forum, but here I am.) The fact 
that predator-prey ratios on the whole are overwhelmingly on the side of 
endothermic dinosaurs despite the taphonomic differences at individual 
localities seems to have fallen by the wayside. Bakker pointed out a simple 
pattern in the dinosaur fossil record and a good reason for it, but 
old-fashioned obscurantism has defeated it.