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Re: Origins (was: Re: Sharovipteryx)

In response...

Ralph E. Chapman
Applied Morphometrics Laboratory
National Museum of Natural history
ADP, EG-15  NHB, 10th & Constitution, NW
Smithsonian Institution
Washington, DC 20560-0136
(202) 786-2293, Fax: (202) 357-4122

>>> lundq <lundq@prodigy.net> 05/26/00 01:10PM >>>

Ralph Chapman wrote:

> << There are  many works that show how developing a rigorous series of
> hypotheses and testing predictions made by them allow us to do real
> in historical areas such as paleontology. It's been a wonderful area of
> discussion for years. Dan Fisher, for example, has done some amazing work
> this field


you should be interested in any paper that demonstrates the scientific
method so

-big snip-

> . I would strongly suggest that dinosaur enthusiasts
> spenbd more time on literature from general paleontology - there are
> there that are a real joy to read and can help people be better at
> they do on dinosaurs.

To Ralph and others on the list:  Could you give references for the papers
mentioned above, and any  others that you think especially exemplify the
scientific method?  I am working toward a second career as a science
writer, and
I'm interested in having a deep understanding of these issues, as well as
examples of writing that are "a real joy to read".  (I think horseshoe
crabs are
pretty cool, too!)

Judy Lundquist
Lexington Children's Museum
Lexington KY, USA

I'll start assembling references and would invite others who know of really
good papers in this direction to get the references to me and I'll assemble
and send the final to the list. the journal Paleobiology is a good place to
start on some. Larry Witmer's thesis, published as a memoir of the SVP, it
came with the JVP, is wonderful, not surprisingly, and I plan to reread for
inspiration soon, especially after his great talk in FLA. Dan Fisher's
papers on horseshoe crabs include one in Paleobiology on spine lengths and
their effect on hsc's, one's in the big trilobite conference in Fossils &
Strata (the Mesolimulus one), and a tremendous one is in the Nitecki volume
on Mazon Creek that builds a huge case in support of subaerial activity in
the Pennsylvanian horseshoe crab Euproops. Will find lots of others and
these exact refs.

Have also been thinking (can you tell that the holiday weekend is coming up
and my brain is trying to avoid real work?) that it would indeed be great to
develop some papers on direct hypotheses presentation and testing within
this context and for classic problems. Maybe a good book where each paper
starts with 

"I submit that....." and goes on to develop the hypotheses, relevant data
and then tests them explicitly. 

"I submit that Ornithischians were herbivores." (HUMONGOUS article)

"I submit that pachycephalosaurs butt heads." (BIG article)

"I submit that stegosaur plates could lie flat and act as airfoils..." (odd

(that last one is a toughie). Anyway, it would a book that my deranged mind
would enjoy.


Ralph Chapman