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Re: "Flight theory has legs"

I'm forwarding this message for Chris Glen:

Begin forwarded message:

Hi there, long time since I've been round these parts....

Firstly, I'd like to say is don't beleive everything you read in the newspapers...
The journalist I talked was a bird watcher, and understood most of what I said about modern birds, but made it clear to me that he knew nothing about palaeontology, dinosaurs etc. (took a while get the point accross that I was talking about dino's like the nasty "little" things in Jurasic Park, and that the Cretaceous ended ~65 mya and not 1.5 - seemed to be smart guy, just not his field). He also made it clear that for the story to be picked up "journalistic license" had to be employed, and things grey suddenly become black and white. And some things that I hadn't really said were printed - but I have no complaints - the journalist did his job and got the story in the paper. I'm going to hone my "media-liasing" skills just in case I do get another stab at 15 minutes of fame (should have heard me stutter on the radio when they phoned me really early in the morning for a 20 sec interview before the news - I may be interested in "early birds" but I'm definitely not one myself!)

I tried to make the point in an oversimplified way that I prefer a trees down approach which makes more sense to me, but the results (from this admittedly narrowly focussed study) are not what I expected and are more like what you expect for the ground up theory to illustrate to him that I think scientists should be prepared for any outcome and reassess their position in an unbiassed way. I thought this was an important point which sometimes is forgotten and could be of interest to the non-scientist members of the community. As I said this is a big oversimplification of my opinion of the ground up/trees down issue - a dichotomy which seems to be dissipating anyway - I have a lot of other ideas I want to move on to about that, and most of what I have seen in the thread are things I have contemplated (except for the "boing-boing-jump" theory which I think is brilliant!) and hope I can still chase them up in the future.

Something that wasn't printed was that these are still preliminary results, which I did say at the conference, and that it's far from the "last word" from my study. Still got a long way to go. Newspapers are not interested printing the "caveats" and "based on these assumptions" that a scientist should put forward because it takes the punch out of their story.

Chris Glen
PhD candidate,
Anatomy Dept.,
University of Queensland
Room: 418
Phone: (07) 3365 2720
Email: s370548@student.uq.edu.au
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