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a retraction



With apologies to all who chased the P. kochi "babies" I claimed were to
be found in National Geographic, page 88, I finally put the dang page on
the scanner and had a good look.

You're right. No babies.

Alot of interesting holes, tooth-like processes and impressions, but
none are worthy. I am interested to know what that "turd with ?teeth" is
doing peeking out from those chips in the crack. (Not really.) The
low-rez picture that caused the initial excitement still looks like
strings of vertebrae with scleral rings at the end and a few wings and
fingers, but their illusory promise was not fulfilled at high rez.

In the end I learned a lesson to temper enthusiasm with a good dose of
second opinion offered generously by many of you. Thank you, all.

The important thing is getting the science right. And that's why, in
this one instance (so far) I humbly ask your forgiveness and hope for a
better future. After a full day of grumbling embarrassment, I'm ready to
forge ahead.

Just so you know, there are other better baby specimens out there. Ones
with fingers and toes with the correct phalangeal count. Skulls in which
every bone matches that of its parent. Tails with vanes at their tips.
These observations were based on high resolutiion photography and
first-hand observation. And more.

Fossils of all sorts vary in their degree of completeness and observable
detail. Don't discount an entire technique from this one acknowledged
misstep on the difficult end of the observable spectrum. Ultimately,
good data will get published. Unfortunately publishing seems to take
forever  -- especially in an adversarial environment. The little news
drops I offered earlier were merely to get people looking for things
they would never have considered previously.

David Peters
St. Louis