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Re: Questioms from James Carey?



Stephan Pickering (stefanpickering2002@yahoo.com) wrote:

<BRIEF REPLY: I am afraid that this letter answers nothing, Jaime.>

  Odd, I was replying to some supposedly presented from a conversation
with James Carey. If these questions are yours and not actually questions
but statements, it was you who should have qualified so. The quoted
statement of:

  "Jim Carey -- whose paper on dinosaur parental care will, in time, be
the
   basis of an extensive study of various questions -- has sent me some
   questions which I'll outline here for possible discussion."

  Rather, the response I am replying to seems to find fault with a reply.
Would you clarify if these are intended for a reply, whether they are
yours, or Carey's?

<Nor did I ask about the capacity of these tiny animals>

  I thought Carey did.

<-- the new Microraptor is 770 mm long -- to be able to kill (tell me,
Jaime: was such a small adult a voracious hunter capable to extinguishing
a bus-size hadrosaur in a single bound?).>

  :)

  All I said was that they were good at killing things. All serrated,
blade-like teeth are designed for slashing and tearing. You show me an
altervative approach, and I will bow to your expertise on the subject.
However, the teeth of *Microraptor zhaoianus* in the referred IVPP
specimens (Hwang et al., 2001) are fairly large for the dentary length and
depth, and unlike those of larger theropods with similar tooth morphology.
They are essentially predatory, I did not say "what" was killed. This will
allude to an earlier post were I discussed possible evidence for arboreal
or scansorial habits in Paul's sinornithosaurs and their dietary
complements, given preservation standards in the Liaoning beds.

<My feeling is that these were, in the main, insectivores and frugivores,
with an occasional tiny lizard or mammal (remember, Jaime, the animal is
770 mm long) in the diet...unless one assumes that hundreds of these taxa,
in a swarming flock, attacked enormous prey.>

  And this "feeling" is the basis of refuting a statement like "good at
killing things"? Science, science, science.

<"If it built nests"...this stretches my credulity (of course, they may
have had tiny suitcases to carry their eggs).>

  Some birds don't build nests, or not that could be found by such means.
Twig construction, stucco design, foliage folding, mound building, or even
"foot mounting" in penguins (and in the case of jacanas, out in the open
on a lilypad, nothing else). And these aren't birds. Part of science is
looking outside the box, and possibly conceiving that your preconceptions
are wrong; I certainly don't beleive I'm right. You need to present
evidence that shows how the complex of nest building can be pushed beyond
the known occurences to regions that lack the preservation of such, and if
you can't, you can only speculate. Not assume.

<My speculative thoughts re: brood patches is the source of another one of
your illogical idiosyncratic screeds: I asked if there is any evidence
preserved re: a brood patch in these feathered dinosaurs emerging from
China,>

  And I said "no".

"and it is meaningless to point to extant dinosaurs lacking brood patches
as the predicate logic of your sentence implies, thus, pre-K/T feathered
dinosaurs lacked them."

  That was not a precedence. My statement of none was then followed by a
statement of lack of brood patches in some basal extant birds (galliforms
and anseriforms have the patches, and I did not say it was the original
condition to lack the patch) and the possible allusion to the variable
nature of this. Those birds without brood patches, like ground-nesting
large ratites, nest in a manner different from nest-building
galloansereans or higher, neoavian birds. Some large neoavian birds also
ground nest, such as some cranes, but ancestry seems to place brood
patches in these, and nowhere did I allude to it, that the absence of a
brood patch was anything phylogenetic.

  Cheers,

=====
Jaime A. Headden

  Little steps are often the hardest to take.  We are too used to making leaps 
in the face of adversity, that a simple skip is so hard to do.  We should all 
learn to walk soft, walk small, see the world around us rather than zoom by it.

"Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969)

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