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Re: Sundry responses of Bois

philidor11@snet.net wrote:

>><...b) a mistaken view of dinosaurs as "reptiles"...>

Before HP Holtz returns you might want to rephrase this statement.<<

Rephrase how? I placed "reptiles" within quotation marks, qualifying it, for 
two reasons: 1) Reptilia is paraphyletic and 2) I was referring to the 
outdated perception of dinosaurs (and many other "reptiles," for that matter) 
as sluggish, lumbering, profoundly stupid targets for brainy furballs.

>>Another clarification, please:  are you arguing that egg-eating could not be
a significant cause of dino (for short) extinction because certain other
causes necessarily and entirely account for all K/T extinctions?<<

I'm stating, not so much arguing, that there's a point where an hypothesis 
becomes theory, and where certain facts have been established, making the 
invention of new and rival theories unneccessary, *unless* the prevailing 
theory (in this case, extinction by abiotic agents) is somehow found wanting 
*or* unless the rival theory proves to have greater explanatory power.

Though there are certainly many unanswered questions surrounding stepwise 
and/or sudden extinction at the K/T boundary resulting from extraterrestrial 
or geologic forces (vulcanism, sea level changes, orogenic events, etc.), 
these ideas have proven themselves far more useful than the proposition that 
mammals played any significant role in the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs.

Before we invest energy solving a problem, it needs to actually *be* a 
problem. In the case of Bois' comments, we need to have some reason to 
suspect latest Maestrichtian mammals of posing a serious and global threat to 
all non-avian dinosaurs. If we're going to accuse them of the "murder," they 
need to at least look "guilty." They don't.  We now have other, far more 
likely suspects.

Caitlin R. Kiernan