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RE: Thoughts on the new Czerkas book (long)

At 08:45 PM 10/09/02 -0700, Tracy L. Ford wrote:
Really? I find it right on the money. Other than myself, George, Greg,
Sankar, what other paleontologist believe theropods could climb? There's a
ton more palaeontologist don't believe they could climb.

Be that as it may, it strikes me that there is a considerable difference between saying "I don't believe therapods could climb" and "Therapods could not climb by definition". How can you define a taxon by a behaviour about whose existence you can only speculate?

We only  know how MODERN birds fly. Which muscles, etc., we don't know how
these kind of animals could fly. We HAVE to stop thinking of modern animals
and look at how things could have been. This is a dogma of modern science...

Wait a minute. If you are saying that dromaeosaurs may have flown using different mechanisms from those in modern volant birds, fine. If you are saying that they actually did fly, no question about it, and the absence of a known mechanism associated with flight is not a problem because maybe they had something else, then you are turning a speculation into a certainty by postulating an unknown. That is, at the very least, unparsimonious.

Even in modern birds there has been argument about the flying ability of some species (eg the Kagu of New Caledonia), and of course the debate over Archaeopteryx's ability in that quarter has raged for decades. I fail to see how you can be so certain that any fossil taxon flew, even if it apparently had the wings to do it.

Ronald I. Orenstein Phone: (905) 820-7886
International Wildlife Coalition Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116
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