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Re: Semi-Sprawled Sauropods (Was: WAVP Report)




Mike,
Unfortunately, there really are no hard "facts" about posture of dinosaurs, although some interpretations are perhaps more widely believed than others. And there is also the semantics of the matter, since there is a continuum of postures, and what we call upright, sprawled, semi-spawled, or "semi-semi-semi-spawled" (just kidding), is pretty arbitrary.
Add to that all of new fossil discoveries and it is obvious that paleontology can never produce "facts" in the same sense that chemistry or physics can. There is no comparable stability of "facts" in paleontology, and the best we can hope for is increasing consensus, plus at least some stability in the nomenclature of organisms (but even that seems to be slipping away from us). It comes with the territory, and my advice is to just accept the instability of "facts" (which we can do little about).
The frustration is understandable, but you have to learn to accept a relatively high level of uncertainty and change in such a field. And quite frankly, it is the flood of new data and changing interpretations that attracts me to paleontology (and biology in general). It's quite exciting compared to something like mathematics, where almost all the "facts" are very consistent and stable (but kinda boring).
----Cheers, Ken
********************************************************
Mike Taylor wrote:
Arrrrgh!  Does _no_ issue ever stay resolved in this crazy field?
Could some modern-day Jonathan Harker please strike a stake through
the heart of sprawled posture once and for all, stuff a clove of
garlic in its mouth, and let it die a decent death, no more to come
stumbling up from the grave.

Grrr. All I want is for the "facts" to stay the same long enough for me to learn 'em!

 _/|_  _______________________________________________________________
/o ) \/  Mike Taylor -- <mirk@mail.org> -- http://www.miketaylor.org.uk/
)_v__/\  "The pies and cakes a woman bakes // can make her fella tell
       'er that he loves her very much ...  So never underestimate a
       woman's touch!" -- from "Calamity Jane"
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