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A Word on ABSRD
I'm not going to defend Feduccia's viewpoint on the origins of birds,
because I don't think he has either made a particularly strong case for his
position or against the theropod theory. But there is still enough doubt
that I am not going to dismiss his views either.
I think it is too extreme to call what Feduccia and Martin do
"pseudoscience", much less compare it to something like phrenology. I have
expressed my hopes that the "Birds Came First" Theory is actually true,
because it could very well turn out that "birds" (not Aves) did evolve from
very primitive dinosaurs or even dinosauriforms, and that each of the two
extremes (ABSRD, as you call it) and BAM (birds are maniraptors) only had
half the story all along. Whether we then expand Aves to include
maniraptors is a bridge we will have to cross if and when we get there.
In any case, I wouldn't be quite so confident about BAM that I would
label the other side "pseudoscience", as it might come back to haunt you
someday. Granted, Larry Martin's mantra (of Garbage In, Garbage Out) has
been overused, but it does have an element of truth to it. Whether BAM is
totally right or not, today's cladistic algorithms will probably be
considered extremely primitive a few decades hence, and there's probably a
lot more computer garbage being generated than you might think.
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