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Re: Who says dromaeosaurs can't fly?

"Tracy L. Ford" wrote:

> 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.

Well yes in a sense, but unlike philosophers (or like some philosophers willing
to do so) we should be ready to test  and submit to  hard facts when they are
produced. Paleontology is after all science not pure, idle speculation.

> 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.

Now Tracy, as you well know I have always taken a hard line against taking a
either/or line, and still manage to be convinced of certain things. I have
always been a big advocate of the trees down theory for example (now I'm
decanting towards a combination of run-up trees  and down again... but that is
another story... I have had really hard discussions with 'dogmatics' from
either side).
If hypotheses are not bound to be falsifiable and tested we are doing religion
not science. We can forcefully argue for our own convictions or the results of
our research but (theoretically at least) I refuse to be drawn into a sort of
Feduccia personal thing: "Them or Us".
By what you are describing then Holtz and Headden ARE doing science. They are
able to conceive a hypothesis and then reject it and still be able to accept
the possibility that both could be true until  hard facts tell you wrong. Why

And yes, who says dromaeosaurs couldn't fly?  I'd say me... depending on the
dromaeosaur, of course.

Luis Rey

Visit my website on http://www.ndirect.co.uk/~luisrey