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I'm breaking Holtz's First Rule right now by commenting on a paper that I have not read yet, but life isn't worth living if it weren't for the mistakes :-).

<<I'm also troubled by Gould's discussion about problems with 'living
dinosaurs'. He says that we don't go round calling mammals living
_Dimetrodons_. This is hardly the same and, in fact, you could call
mammals living eupelycosaurs if you wanted to. [...] Gould argues that we don't call poodles wolves. I disagree... dogs are
wolves and, if you're being pedantic you certainly ARE right in calling
your poodle a wolf.>>

I agree, it is neat conversation starter (or stopper) at the very least that deserves to be mined for its great grammatological (Derrida postmodernists shouldn't get their hopes up) potential. :-)

<<As an aside, the article is historically interesting in that Gould recounts Greg Paul's argument about derivation of bird-like flightless theropods from flighted ancestors, yet without reference to Greg or to this hypothesis. In 1988 GSP suggested that a flightless descendant of an
_Archaeopteryx_-like ancestor would not be as strongly modified for
flight as advanced birds, would have big hand claws, long fingers etc
and would thus make a 'better' dinosaur than, say, a flightless
palaeognath. Gould presents an identical argument.>>

Interesting.  Who said that great minds think alike?

<<I don't know if this is just me being stupid, but I should like to say that the article is written in indecipherable riddles - it is absolutely stacked full of obscure references that went completely over my head. I've never really noticed this in Gould's writing before.>>

In my experience with Gould's writing, I can say that he does like to use a long metaphor, sometimes to silliness. Anybody who has read the first 30 some pages of _Full House_ can tell you that Gould can go a little overboard (baseball??). Overall though, I like Gould's prose. Why use a scientific argument when you can use a good allusion or metaphor? I would say about half of them I have no idea what the hell he is talking about, but I'm the guy who watched _2001_ as a child, didn't understand the movie's ending one bit, and still loved it. Basically, I'm a sucker for style.

Matt Troutman _____________________________________________________________________________________ Get more from the Web. FREE MSN Explorer download : http://explorer.msn.com