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RE: Possibility of never seeing the Rigby rex?



> From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu]On Behalf Of
> Larry Dunn
>
> Anyone out there have a sneaking suspicion that we
> will _never_ see anything on the "Rigby rex?"

I suspect that there will be something.  I also strongly suspect that it
won't be something vastly interesting to most of you here (me, yes; but I've
got the tyrant fetish).  Of course I may be, and would be happy to be,
proven wrong: preparation and comparative measurements may yet demonstrate
that this is something more siginficant than simply another line of the _T.
rex_ hypodigm.

> It was recently suggested to me that, because it's not
> 3" long and furry, the theropod in question is
> probably not all that fascinating to Rigby.

That wouldn't seem to be the case, as it is not as if Rigby has been a major
player in circles and debates on bird origins or coelurosaur systematics.
On the other hand, he has made important contributions to general Lancian
paleontology, so in that sense these specimens would be significant to him
(I hope).

> Accordingly, why go through all the considerable work
> surely involved, made a lot more complicated by the
> landowners,

land lack-of-owners, you mean...

> for reasons already well-known?
>
> Even assuming this doesn't happen in this case, and I
> hope it doesn't, how often does it happen generally?
> How many very interesting new specimens succumb to the
> dreaded "aw, screw it" factor?

Interesting new specimens tend to get reported, but new specimens that are
less interesting... that's a different issue.  Not every bone dug out of the
ground is justification for a new 5 page paper in JVP.  Should the Rigby rex
turn out, for example, to fall well within the size range of known
specimens, I wouldn't expect it to be described in the near future.  In
fact, since it otherwise does not extend the stratigraphic (as far as I
know) or geographic range of the taxon, and does not (to my knowledge) add
new information to the morphology of the species, then it most likely will
not get its own write up.  It might concievably wind up mentioned and
illustrated in a summary of known dinosaur sites from the Hell Creek of
Montana, or a review of specimens of _T. rex_, or similar publication.

                Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                Vertebrate Paleontologist
Department of Geology           Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland          College Park Scholars
                College Park, MD  20742
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholtz/tholtz.htm
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~jmerck/eltsite
Phone:  301-405-4084    Email:  tholtz@geol.umd.edu
Fax (Geol):  301-314-9661       Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-405-0796