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RE: Who says dromaeosaurs can't fly?

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu]On Behalf Of
Sent: Saturday, September 14, 2002 6:59 AM
To: dinosaur@usc.edu
Cc: jlipps@uclink4.berkeley.edu
Subject: RE: Who says dromaeosaurs can't fly?

Subj:   Re: paleonet fossils and molecular data
Date:   9/13/2002 12:57:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From:    jlipps@uclink4.berkeley.edu (Jere H. Lipps)
Sender:    paleonet-owner@nhm.ac.uk
Reply-to:    paleonet@nhm.ac.uk
To:    paleonet@nhm.ac.uk, paleonet@nhm.ac.uk

I am surprised to hear such talk from paleontologists!   Paleontologists
to cooperate with any and all sorts, and mostly I'd say they do.  Sometimes
they actually go after the discipline themselves, if it enhances their
  At the UCMP, we run a molecular lab just to combine the data with the
fossils, without having to wait for the molecular types.  Molecules give us
another historical record that we should feel very comfortable with.
it gives us other hypotheses to test.  I have yet to see any solutions come
from it, but then that makes for real exciting paleontology!!

I think that in any science (paleontology is not an exception) when people
support only a single hypothesis, they must resort to all kinds of defenses
and attacks on those who don't go along with it.  If these same people
with multiple working hypotheses, used any data source to test (NOT PROVE)
those hypotheses, and were ready to add hypotheses to the list of testable
ones when additional data suggest that it  would be useful, then we'd have
far fewer of these mostly destructive kinds of interactions.

Molecules usually provide a  different set of alternative hypotheses that
paleo alone cannot generate, but paleo commonly can test them.  Paleo
provides hypotheses that molecules can't, but they often can help sort them
out.  There is no conflict! Only an elimination of hypotheses.  If yours
eliminated or challenged and you have no alternative, then I can understand
where this bitterness comes from.

Check the references in www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/people/jlipps/Science.html for
more about alternative hypotheses development and testing, if you are


Welcome to the world of Paleontology.

To me paleontology is more like philosophy than other sciences. Unlike
molecular science in paleo you don't have the chance of discounting theories
with cold hard physical evidence. We have to relay on theories and beliefs,
whether it's our own or a computers (i.e. cladistics). That's the way it is
in paleo.

And if you can't prove cladisically when or if some animals could fly, why
to cladist argue about it so much? Sure, some say, it's possible that some
dinosaurs could fly or climb trees, then argue completely against it (see
Holtz and Haedden's posts). This is one of the things that bothers me which
makes me not believe what they are trying to say.

Tracy L. Ford
P. O. Box 1171
Poway Ca  92074