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Re: Pleurocoelus question

In a message dated 6/14/01 10:30:42 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
philidor11@snet.net writes:

>  Not disagreeing with your conclusion, but I do want to point out that in
>  itself the fact that two teeth have the same external appearance does not
>  necessarily mean that they have the same internal structure.  They probably
>  do, but, to twist your simile, if I worked at it, I could produce an apple
>  which did not have seeds.

I am sure you could. Hence my remark about cutting along any other axis, so 
long as they are all the same on all specimens. You would have to reproduce 
such a cut for all specimens and not just one ;-)

>  This is an observation about logic, not teeth.

>  <Fossil shows are the LAST place to obtain specimens. 

.  Art museums do buy paintings, and privately held
>  works are photographed and studied and included in art history texts.  I
>  know the past discussions, but this appears to be saying there's something
>  tainted (as opposed to diminished utility) about privately held fossils.

This is not the same thing. Fossils are useless without the proper locality 
and other data that go with _properly_ obtained material. And yes, there may 
well  some "taint" to the specimen(s). The _Archaeoraptor_ debacle is a 
salient reminder of that! These  same "shows" sell "Spinosaur" teeth which 
have turned out to be croc teeth. There is a growing pirate fossil industry 
that make it to allegedly legitimate markets.  Supposed that this discussion 
had been about Spinosaur teeth and we went to rock shows to get them?  Utter 
disaster. No scientist worth his or her salt would have their name associated 
with such a dubious undertaking. This could be analagous to a fraudulent 
Picasso in your art analogy, which if I am not msitaken has been done before! 
As an aside, I also know for a fact that important fossil material from 
_my_site_ has made it to fossil dealers. I'd shoot the bastards if I could 
catch them! 

>  Did you really intend to make your point this strongly?
Yes! But we digress and I don't want to get into the us vs. them argument 
again ;-)
And, I'll readily admit that there are exceptions. 
My main points regarding the sauropod teeth in question were that based on my 
observations, research and conversations with experts in this area that 
sectioning of teeth should result in the same pattern. If there was any 
difference, it still tells us nothing about the taxonomic affinities of its 
owner. Just as the current Astrodon tells us nothing. A destructive study is 
thus not warranted and the limited availability of valid specimens makes this 
last aspect an improbability.



Thomas R. Lipka
Paleontological/Geological Studies