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RE: Isle of Wight "Oviraptor"

Ray Stanford wrote:

> I've not read the paper, but judging by the title, it seems to me
> that only tyrannosaurs should be offended.  :-)

With good reason, I'd say.

The point of this non-existent publication was entirely satirical.  I don't
believe that Huene's or Janensch's political views (or lack of such views)
should be taken into account when evaluating the scientific merit of their
publications.  Should we ignore Osborn and Andrews' paleontological research
on Asian fossils because they held views which might be considered ...um...
a little controversial?

This is a potentially inflammatory topic, so I'll stop here and merely
continue to wonder why it was brought up in the first place.  I would add
that if the awful ideology prevalent in 1930's Germany had succeeded in its
mission, that I probably wouldn't be here today.  Enough said.  Let's get
back to dinosaurs.

Stephan Pickering wrote: 
>      Stephen Jay Gould's masterpiece is a cause for celebration: 

Before you grab the champagne and balloons, let's not get too carried away
here.  Prof Gould's "take" on evolution is by no means universally excepted.
A great many paleontologists and evolutionary biologists disagree with his
views on the evolutionary process.  Gould certainly has a knack of exciting
the public imagination - and I've learned a great deal from reading his
work.  However, more often than not I find myself disagreeing with his

> Puncutated equilibria owes as much to Lamarck as it does to Mendel: 
> catastrophic changes in biological processes, extinction events, cause 
> rapid processes of adaptations.  

The hypothesis (or observation) of punctuated equilibrium (PE) avers that
species tend to be morphologically conservative throughout their existence,
with change from one species to the next occurring rapidly (and are
therefore too brief to be tracked by the geological record).   At least, as
demonstrated by Eldredge and Gould for phacopid trilobites and pulmonate
gastropods.  PE does not require catastrophic stimuli in order for novel
adaptations to be selected for, nor for new species to arise.  

> His masterpiece will, I am sure, overshadow those, playing with crayons 
> empty bubble-gum wrappers, and  moving lips while forming the words, 
> are awaiting the sequel to the Media Barneyologist's Raptor Red, which 
> plundered landscapes for ideas than never occurred to him. 

Oh dear, now you've done it.  I suspect Bob will cross you off his Christmas
Card list.



Timothy J. Williams

USDA-ARS Researcher
Agronomy Hall
Iowa State University
Ames IA 50014

Phone: 515 294 9233
Fax:   515 294 3163