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Dan/Uncle Grump wrote...

> For the life of me, I do not understand the fascination over
> what Larry Martin's opinion should be about this question. Why should I or,
> for that matter, anyone care? 

Uncle Grump is of course right. HOWEVER, the facts are: (1) Martin 
is one of the most vocal of those opposed to the bird-dinosaur link. (2) 
The media and even other academics therefore believe some of the 
things he has said and continues to say (e.g. no non-avian dinosaur 
could climb a tree, _Rahonavis_ is not a bird, _Caudipteryx_ is a 
confuciusornithid-like bird [with an inverted ischium] etc etc). 

Regardless of whether or not birds really are dinosaurs, this is not on 
(akin to, e.g., statements in the creationist literature that the human 
pelvis could not have evolved from the chimpanzee pelvis). Thus.. if 
Martin is turned around, we might stop hearing the same nonsense in 
both the popular and academic literature.

As one of my biologist friends laments, it's a shame that the amount of 
time and energy that has been expended in the bird-dinosaur debate 
could not have been directed elsewhere: the conservation of extant 
species for example (research relating to which does not just come 
from neontologists). I would especially like to bring this idea to the 
attention of those ornithologists who still contest the idea that birds 
are dinosaurs.

BTW: must mention the fact that I got to see my first live 
_Cryptoprocta_ (fossa/fosa - pronounced 'foosh' according to some) at 
Marwell Zoo last week. To my amazement, they had four of the things. 
Like seeing a live thylacine.

School of Earth & Environmental Sciences
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