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Re: Discovery Channel's "Beasts in Your Back Yard" and Tyrannosaurid skin



On Fri, 22 Jun 2001 17:56:13  
 Ray Stanford wrote:
>    Regarding Tracy Ford's comments to me regarding my most recent posting,
>it seems he may not actually have read my points carefully enough and is,
>therefore, taking them a bit too personally, even though nothing I said was
>intended to assail him personally (or his possibly valid deduction of
>Hadrosaurs in Ottawa).
>
>     I was concerned about what I call mindlessness of the media at times
>and merely using his post as a departure point.  If one reads my post again,
>it will be clear that I took the positions that there may well have been
>hadrosaurs in pre-Ottawa, just that it is not absolutely proven by
>'reasonable' deduction.  So, isn't Tracy attacking a straw man in saying
>what follows?:
>
>"Give me a frigen break. Unbelievable. Hadrosaurs are known from Alaska to
>South America. They just so happen to have by passed Ottawa altogether! Hey,
>well then there were no dinosaurs in Ottawa, or Florida! Just because they
>aren't found there they just happened to not have been there.
>Therizinosaurids weren't known from North America, but HEY, they've been
>found now. No Jurassic ankylosaurids were known until the last decade, so
>what, they just so happen to just pop up? My point is that just because some
>things haven't been found before doesn't mean they weren't there......Bull!"
>
>    Some quesions to ponder:  (1) Must we take it as gospel that hadrosaurs
>were ubiquitous simply because they were at many locations?, or; (2) Does a
>great population density of hadrosaurs across a continent absolutely assure
>that they were at places where no physical evidence unquestionably locates
>them?

Tracy, Ray, et al.,
First of all, I must say it is pretty cool having a discussion on the dinosaurs 
of my home town of Ottawa, Illinois.  This is the only time EVER I have heard 
Ottawa mentioned in a dinosaur debate :-)  I certainly wish there was 
unequivocal evidence of Hadrosaurus here, but, alas, I'll have to stick with 
Pennsylvanian amphibians and cr*p loads of brachiopods...

Anyhow, I can say with 99% assurance that dinosaurs lived here in Ottawa at 
some point during the Mesozoic.  This I don't doubt, as Ottawa was above sea 
level.  However, there were no Morrison-like "flood plains" that are known from 
Illinois, and if there were some flood-plain-like deposits, they have long 
since been removed by the glut of glaciers that has ripped my state's surface 
apart. 

Ray is right when he says that we can't say for certain that a specific genus 
lived here.  Tracy is also correct in saying that we can ASSUME it was here.  
However, there are some very widespread species and genera that for some reason 
or another don't live in a certain area.  Perhaps much of Ottawa was a lake 
during the Cretaceous, which would eliminate the possibility of Hadrosaurus 
living here?  I really don't know, and neither does anybody else.  So, we can 
assume, but we can't be certain.  

The major problem with the website is that it has people enter their ZIP codes, 
which as Ray said, makes it seem like the dinosaurs listed lived in a small 
area.  As I just said, Ottawa is rather small, and very well could have been a 
lake or some piece of inhospitable land.  Hadrosaurus may not of lived here.  
Hadrosaurs as a group may not have lived here, but it is probable.  I have no 
problem with entering your state's name and seeing what dinosaurs lived in the 
state.  But, the website is assuming that a single genus of animal lived right 
here, in the city of Ottawa, which is only some five by five miles in size!!  
That is assuming way too much, and I hate assuming like that.  It would have 
been much better if the website 1) had one enter their state's name or 
preferably 2) attached a short note or small print section which said something 
like "not based on fossil remains," or "implied."  

Dinosaurs almost certainly lived here in Ottawa, but it isn't safe to assume 
that a single genus did, no matter how widespread it was.  

Steve

P.S. The Sears Tower has its own ZIP Code.  If I remembered what it was, I 
would have entered it.  I bet it would have come out as Hadrosaurus, too...

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Steve Brusatte-DINO LAND PALEONTOLOGY
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