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RE: ABOUT THE REVERSED HALLUX AND..
Emma Rainforth commented;
"DO NOT TRUST A SINGLE DRAWING BY LULL!!! EVER!!!!!
The drawings are mostly composites (stated in his 1904 thesis, out of which
the 1915 & '53 monographs grew), with a little restoration here and
So? Composite drawings are an acceptable and informative scientific
illustration technique, provided they are so labeled, AND LULL SO LABELED
THEM. I have trouble believing that Lull, who had both a Ph.D. and a Sc.D.
could be so incompetent as to
make his illustrations as unreliable as Rainforth's words suggest.
Having personally examined several examples (not replicas) of a number
of the ichnospecies Lull illustrates, I found his drawings of those types
are quite reliable, and I am an observant person. So, at least in those
cases, the extremity of Rainforth's condemnation of Lull's work is
Let us note that Lull was the Sterling Professor of Paleontology at Yale
University and the Director of the Peabody Museum, Emeritus, there. Did he
'get there' by sloppy science? If Lull were still living, I wonder if
Rainforth's statements to this list would be so severe.
"...and incidentally did I mention they look NOTHING like th specimens? At
Nothing at all like the specimens?! Give us a break! Yes, Lull was a
bit careless sometimes, but was he really so untrustworthy and incompetent
Rainforth's words suggest? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Let us keep in mind that the
line drawings presented in TRIASSIC LIFE OF THE CONNECTICUT VALLEY are not
intended to be taken as detailed technical illustrations of the ichnites,
but just to delineate the basic, non artifactual features and outlines. If
a few artifacts were misinterpreted as part of a footprint, occasionally, so
be it. The volume is still an easily available treasure trove on the basic
pedal morphology of denizens of the Early Jurassic world.
Rainforth further said:
"(The only track photo in the 1915/1953 monograph is
reproduced from Marsh';s 1896 Dinosaur tome. Incidentally, that photo is of
Steropoides. Judge for yourself - beats me how Lull got his nice drawing
from those specimens!!!)"
Why should we judge the accuracy of Lull's illustrations by evaluating a
low-resolution photo in the book, when the Steropoides illustrations are
based on much
more? I'd have to see the actual ichnites to judge for myself the fidelity
of the illustrations Lull provides (All illustrations seem properly
attributed as to source, in the volume.), but at this point I cannot accept
the total unreliability Rainforth attributes to Lull's volume. In fact, I
do not personally know any other paleoichnologist with whom I have discussed
this matter, who feels the extreme way she does. I suspect Paul Olsen could
be an exception, since he and she have shared a lot of viewpoints commonly,
but I have not discussed it with him.
"Ok, back to Steropoides: about all you can say is it's a dinosaur with 3
anteriorly-directed digits and a highly variable hallux impression
(variability largely due to difference in preservation between specimens)."
That's not all I could say after seeing the illustrations. The pes is
actually quite extraordinary. In most Steropoides ichnospecies, the rather
long hallux is illustrated as very much reversed, and it clearly attaches to
the rest of the foot, and cannot be a claw impression from above.
Personally, I don't think that preservation state
could change the angle of reversal much, except, maybe, if there had been
distortion of the substrate, and I've never seen that discussed as much of a
problem in Connecticut Valley ichnites, nor have I personally observed any
evidence attributable to such on track bearing substrates personally
I appreciate Rainforth sharing with us her insights and feelings about
these matters. Experience has its value, and we are fortunate to have her
on this mailing list, but when accusations of total unreliability and, de
incompetence, are piled upon an honored man so severely, I, upon a few hours
begin to question at least the degree of accuracy of those accusations,
themselves. I'm not saying there's nothing to some of Rainforth's concerns,
but they are surely overkill.
In fact, I have enough confidence in Lull and the contents of TRIASSIC
LIFE IN THE CONNECTICUT VALLEY that I just ordered two more copies (one to
highlight and mark up, one for a friend to whom I recommended it). They are
only $10, each, plus UPS shipping. The URL for the State of Connecticut
bookstore where they are available is:
http://dep.state.ct.us/store/index.htm . I don't think any person seriously
interested in the foot structure of Early Jurassic fauna should be without
it. For credit card sales they recommend you NOT (although you can) pay
on-line but telephone them at (860) 424-3555 or (860) 424-3692, because the
computer wants to charge you $10 for shipping, when it should be much less,
if you are in the continental USA. I really appreciate Rainforth's letting
us know the volume is still available at the bookstore, because I paid $30
(plus shipping from Canada) for my copy from a second hand book store.
Thanks for 'listening',
"You know my method. It is founded upon the observance of trifles." --
Sherlock Holmes in The Boscombe Valley Mystery