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RE: Pterosaur Help



Dear Tracy,

<<DALLA VECCHIA, F. M., 2001, Triassic pterosaurs: unravelling the puzzle.
Two hundred years of Pterosaurs - A symposium on the anatomy, evolution,
palaeobiology and environments of Mesozoic Flyng Reptiles, Tolouse, France,
September 5-8, 2001. Strata, 11 (Série 1): 33-35, Tolouse.>>

<<Well, if no one has seen your 2001 paper, it is excusable because we
wouldn't know what you said in it. I'd like a copy of the symposium volume
and I tried to contact someone before but got no reply. Could you remind me
again who to contact (if you can) so I can try again? Thanks.>>

The 1998 paper is the actual revision of Preondactylus. The other is just
an extended abstract regarding all Triassic pterosaurs. To have a copy of
the Abstracts Volume I think you should contact Francis Duranthon   
francis@duranthon@mairie-toulouse.fr
In my experience French paleontologists are very slow in answering to
messages.

<<The taxonomy of early pterosaurs is a mess. i suggest to be careful in
accepting as correct the descriptions you find in literature and to look
 A T  T H E  S P E C I M E N S!!!>>
<Unfortunately, this is the main thing WE can do. IF we can't rely on the
authors whom can we rely on? How should we know if they are misleading us?
WE HAVE to rely on the authors to correctly identify what we are reading and
seeing. This includes making the illustrations as accurately as possible. WE
all can't travel the world, look at EVERY specimen, so we have to rely on
the written word. IF we can't rely on the written descriptions what good is
it to write them? Or even believe what is being written? Or for that matter,
what any scientist has to say?>

I mean that we cannot accept ACRITICALLY the published descriptions.
Everybody can make mistakes. Thus, we must read ALL the published papers
concerning a taxon and compare the different descriptions. Furthermore, if
you are doing a matrix of characters and you have doubts or there is
something unusual in the state of a character, you must check that
character in the specimen. Some mistakes become general paleontological
culture because after the first description nobody else checked them again
in the specimen.

Cheers
Fabio M. Dalla Vecchia