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Does the heart go on?



The February 2nd issue of _Science_ has technical comments and a news
story (pg. 811) on the _Thescelosaurus_ specimen containing
presumptive evidence of preserved heart tissue.  I hope this is freely
available (I can't tell from here):

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/291/5505/783a

In case it's not available to all, the upshot is that Tim Rowe, Earl
McBride and Paul Sereno think the "heart" is just an ironstone
concretion having no relevance to the organs that used to be in the
animal whose bones now surround it.  Dale Russell, Paul Fisher, Reese
Barrick and Michael Stoskopf respond that the timeline Rowe et
al. claim must be correct for the fossil to have been from ersatz
heart tissue is actually not correct, and that although they are still
examining the specimen they believe their identification of it as
remnants of the heart is accurate.

Among other things, the news report details an interview with Larry
Witmer who basically said, 'who cares' one way or the other since the
decayed nature of the presumptive heart means it contains no useful
information irrespective of whether or not the residue represents the
remains of once living tissue.

In any case, to quash any rumors, Tim Rowe is no relation to me other
than that we're both of European descent so far as I know.

-- 
Mickey Rowe     (rowe@psych.ucsb.edu)