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Re: Isle of Wight "Oviraptor"

Stephan Pickering (StephanPickering@cs.com) wrote:

<A cf. Oviraptorosauria>

  Once again, it is not being refered to the Oviraptorosauria, but is
probably a maniraptoran and, as the authors state, appears to have close
affinity to both segnosaurs and oviraptorosaurs, and may provide more
robust evidence of cervical autapomorphies of the segnosaur +
oviraptorosaur clade. The taxon is *Thecocoelurus daviesi*.

<for an isolated vertebra, regardless of the name (the taxon named by von
Huene is a nomen dubium/vanum [I prefer Sam Welles's adjective]), would be

  As for the name, the robust description and features as outlined by both
Seeley and von Huene make this taxon unlikely to be a nomen dubium. Naish
and Martill further show that this vertebrae has many diagnostic qualities
and in keeping with its stratigraphy, is likely to be a nomen validum, and
bears the name *Thecocoelurus daviesi* on the basis of Seeley's and Naish
and Martill's work. This leaves von Huene entirely out of the loop,
regardless of the political correctness of his attitude -- which shouldn't
have any reflection on the quality of his work, anyway.

<My feelings toward von Huene -- despite the claim he made enormous
contributions to early paleobiology (his 1900-1932 writings on dinosaurs
are uneven, but, in places masterful) -- are coloured by one fact: like
Janensch, he remained silent while the slaughter transpired 1933-1945.
Even after the Holocaust, both remained silent, thereby rendering
irrelevant their "authority" to speak for paleo(bio)ontology.>

  By this philosophy I could easily then dismiss the work of various
paleontologists because of political incorrectness of their lives, even
when it deliberately affected their work! By this, I can just ignore
everything that Marsh did, because Cope was the better biologist, or Owen
because he was religiously motivated in how work, or Osborn because he was
a bigot, or Nopsca because he was gay. Ignore the work of neutralists
because they didn't take sides, or for any political reason, and you get a
pick and choose your own analysis arena, and science is right out the
window. Compare the relative genomic work of Mayr and Woese, both
accredible genetic biologists, you compare their work on the value of
their work -- not because one went to (for instance, not to say they did)
Harvard and the other Yale.

Jaime A. Headden

  Little steps are often the hardest to take.  We are too used to making leaps 
in the face of adversity, that a simple skip is so hard to do.  We should all 
learn to walk soft, walk small, see the world around us rather than zoom by it.

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