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Re: Lull (RE: ABOUT THE REVERSED HALLUX AND..)
Emma Rainforth said to me:
"Out of curiousity, I am interested whether you studied the types sensu
Hitchcock, or the material referred to a taxon by Lull (and often
incorrectly identified as the type). Oftentimes, I have found, the material
Lull refers to a taxon is very different from the type material."
I was primarily using Lull 1953 as a reference, so, if I understand what
you're saying correctly, I might have been looking at a different ichnotaxon
than it seemed. Your point is well taken, but since I was not writing a
paper on Early Jurassic dinosaurs (and probably never will, since my cup of
tea is Early Cretaceous ichnites), the names were not so important to me as
trying to see if what I was examining matched any of Lull's illustrations.
An amateur attitude? Of course, but I am not a professional like you, and
am much more an explorer/finder than a scholar. I think that in the cases I
had in mind, Lull was using the same name as Hitchcock, but as you say, even
that can be confusing if one is not as informed in the subject as you
I enjoyed your declaring of Lull:
"Yes. And I would invite him to defend himself.
Congratulations on that frontier spirit. You will be right at home out
there in New Mexico. :o)
You further let us know, regarding Lull:
"Incidentally, I was not attacking the man; his science, yes, but (as
mentioned in my last post, although perhaps not explicitly enough) many of
the errors were largely beyond his control - inaccessibility of specimens
and literature, pleasing one's advisor to the detriment of accuracy (he even
admitted that in print in 1904), and by 1953, blindness. He was NOT
scientifically incompetent - just not as rigorous or careful as (hindsight)
shows he could have been."
Your clarification and information is appreciated.
In your earlier posting regarding Lull, you had said:
"DO NOT TRUST A SINGLE DRAWING BY LULL!!! EVER!!!!!...and incidentally did I
mention they look NOTHING like th specimens? At ALL?"
To which I had responded, "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
as Rainforth's words suggest? ABSOLUTELY NOT!"
And your response was:
"In some cases yes. See Olsen & Baird 1986, The ichnogenus Atreipus and its
significance for Triassic biostratigraphy, pp. 61-88 in K. Padian (ed.) The
Beginning of the Age of Dinosaurs, Cambridge UP; Appendix (discussiuon of
I've had the book for several years and have read the excellent paper
referenced. But my comment was concerning your BLANKET STATEMENT(s) about
Lull's illustrations, 1953. I take your response to mean that you are
backing off from your original statement:
"DO NOT TRUST A SINGLE DRAWING BY LULL!!! EVER!!!!!"
Strong stuff! That's quite different than your later, "In some cases
yes," which seems to me to mean that you realized your first capital-letter
caveat was over-done and you were backing down to a level of realism.
I had commented that, "...at this point I cannot accept he total
unreliability Rainforth attributes to Lull's volume."
To which you responded:
"Okay. Let me know when you're done reading EVERY scrap of literature, and
have examined literally EVERY specimen in the Amherst and Yale Collections.
Then we can compare notes."
I think you're taking the matter into an entirely different dimension
than the mere question of whether you were right in saying that one should
never trust a single drawing by Lull! The truth is, one does not have to do
all the work you seem to be saying you've (commendably) done in order to
demonstrate that quite a number of Lull's illustrations CAN be trusted
(through comparison with their antecedents), while a good number of them
cannot. Let's not throw out the baby (such as the scrawny thing may be,
according to your standards) with the bath! After all, just ONE example of
Lull's illustrations being correct proves your blanket statement wrong; and
your statement, "In SOME cases" [MY emphasis], proves that you know your
blanket statement was wrong.
All I was pointing out was that you were "...a tad carried away
there....", as you said of yourself (possibly in jest) in a July 11 posting
on science and the media. :)
But, despite your over-kill in that capital-letter caveat, your abundant
knowledge, experience, and up-and-at-em spirit are admirable. IMHO, the
paleoichnological world needs more like you, Emma.
"You know my method. It is founded upon the observance of trifles." --
Sherlock Holmes in The Boscombe Valley Mystery