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Re: Bambiraptor (perfectionism?)
Ken Kinman wrote:
> I agree with you. It is better to have partial information than no
> information at all. And I understand the feelings of those who have reacted
> to Chris' comment about "rotting in the field". That even leaves a bad
> taste in the mouths of many scientists.
> A third comment bothers me as well, that if a specimen is "lost", ALL
> the data is effectively lost. Such a perfectionistic striving when it comes
> to data matrices and cladistic analysis makes me very uncomfortable, and I
> cannot help but wonder how much valuable information might be ignored in the
> If detailed measurements, photographs, and casts of a fairly complete
> skeleton are not enough to make some compromise possible, then I would ask
> the following: How can scientists condone the publication of new species
> and genera which are based on extremely limited material? ---among mammals
> they sometimes will do so on the basis of a single tooth.
> Quite frankly in many cases, I would think it would be better to have
> measurements, photographs and casts of a fairly complete skeleton (even if
> it remains in private hands) than have just a few scattered bits and pieces
> in a museum. And as Dinogeorge stated, it is better to have an important
> fossil without locality data, than no fossil at all. This "all or nothing"
> kind of attitude is not pragmatic, and it can scarcely be defended when
> scientists name new genera and species on very fragmentary material. There
> is an immense amount of missing data for such specimens.
> And to institute a policy of non-publication across the board just
> because a small percentage of private owners might not cooperate in the
> future, I just don't see how that outweighs the possible ill-will and
> uncooperativeness that could be generated on a broader scale when such an
> unyielding policy results in a bigger schism between scientists and private
> collectors. Without some reasonable compromise on both sides, I think such
> a policy will do more harm than good in the long run.
> ------Ken Kinman
> >From: Dinogeorge@aol.com
> >Reply-To: Dinogeorge@aol.com
> >To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> >Subject: Re: Bambiraptor (comment on Brochu's comments)
> >Date: Wed, 22 Nov 2000 01:23:55 EST
> >In a message dated 11/21/00 10:27:23 PM EST, email@example.com writes:
> ><< When I state that fossils out of context are as useful as fossils that
> >remain uncollected, this reflects reality - if we don't know where they
> >come from, there is really little we can say, like it or not. >>
> >This simply cannot be correct. It is always better to have a fossil in
> >hand, even if there is no detailed provenance data known for it, that it is
> >leave the fossil in the ground uncollected and thus unknown to science. At
> >the very least, the simple existence of the fossil could inspire concerted
> >searches for other examples, and it could also add a previously unknown
> >branch to a phylogenetic tree.
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