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Overlooked Susan Kidwell paper & a note on Big Al
Recently, it was noted that, in the new Annual Review
of Ecology & Systematics, Susan Kidwell and Steven
Holland have a new paper on the fossil record. Susan
did another paper a few years ago, which, with the new
one, offers the dinosaurologist a good overview:
Susan M. Kidwell & K.W. Flessa, 1996. The quality of
the fossil record: populations, species, and
communities. Annual Review of Ecology & Systematics
Once upon a time, there was a Zen dinosaurologist
student who quoted an old Chassidic poem to his
teacher, who had been a student of O.C. Marsh. "The
fossil voices of torrents are from one great genus
tongue, the allosaurs of the hills are the pure body
of natural selection via Buddha and the Zohar, with a
touch of Nopcsa and Stromer".
"Isn't that right?", he asked the teacher... who was
sitting with a copy of Bob Dylan's kabbalistic
masterpiece "Tarantula" in one hand and, in the other,
a fragmentary ulna which, he was sure, could be
elucidated into an entire, wonderfully diagnostic
animal, after several years of clenching the jaws and
squinting the eyes at a copy of Cuvier's similar
efforts, and wiping the brow when looking at broken
shells on the beach.
"It is", said the teacher, "but it is a pity to say so".
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