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RE: the SVP pterosaur talks - rather MEDIUM reply

At 12.15 17/10/02 -0700, you wrote:

I had been going to refrain from responding to the two recent posts in which
David Peters rejected my interpretations of specimens, but seeing that Tom
Holtz had written "George, you have NEVER SEEN the three new taxa: how can
you *POSSIBLY* have an informed opinion on them?" emboldened me.<<

Ok, this has not stopped paleontologist in the past from making opinions and
using photographs and illustrations to make discussions.
 This happens all the time. I think too much conservative is used
in illustrating skulls, skeletons, and looking at the actually specimen
(even from a photo) will show how it really was.
Sometimes doing so will give us ideas that we can work on (papers, posters,
etc). There isn't enough money to let us visit every specimen in every
museum, so I suppose we should just not do it using poto's?
IMHO such a list is supposed to be a place were exchange ideas and opinions also on those matters thus I hope you will not be annoyed by my add on:

Buddha once said : "the loose string and the tight string do not make a good sound": "good" stays in the middle. Tracy is right: sometimes a photo is enough to make a bell ring in our brain. Chris is right: we should check the real specimen, more so if our re-intepretation is very "alternative". If this is impossible, we must not refrain to expose our OPINION, even in written form, because at least it could represent a starting point for other research and verifications, but we must not be ASSERTIVE, since we have not checked the stuff first hand.
May I bother you with a couple of stories from my own experience?
I NEVER stated that Protoavis cervicals are actually drepanosaurids, because I never saw Protoavis material first hand (money to travel, where are you?) I simply underscored the similarities in my papers. Others will be able to check my impressions.
More fortunately (for me), when I compared the photo and line drawing "as preserved" of the Drepanosaurus holotype with the reconstruction, I was immediately aware that there was something wrong with the shoulder girdle (and with other things, but not to the point here) . The reconstruction of the pectoral girdle, while conservative (looking like a basal diapsid) didn't fit at all even with the line drawing!!
But only when I put my hands and eyes on the specimen I was able to show beyond any doubt that my non conservative views were right, by finding a second interclavicle stem (actually a scapular blade) etc. Thus I could write that the shoulder girdle REALLY WAS so and so.

                                                Silvio Renesto


"The voice from the lake then asked "which is the strangest thing of all?"
Judisthira replied "Every day men see other men die, they see the chariots with the >corpses and the fires, yet they keep living as they were immortals, >this is the strangest thing of all"

(from Mahabharatha)

Silvio Renesto

Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra
Università degli Studi di Milano
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I 20133 Milano
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