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dorsal frills et al.

To paraphrase an old adage from Mad Magazine:

To find one is probably a glitch.

To find two is probably a laughable coincidence.

To find three should make you pause.

To find four -- well, someone is obviously pulling a practical joke on you.

To find five, it's time to look for six, seven  and eight.

To find nine, it's time to tell your friends to start looking too.

To find ten, it's time to write a paper.

By verifiable, I meant immediately. On a layered file you can peel away the 
layers with a click of a button, to check what you've drawn. Most of the time I 
don't know what I've traced -- even after tracing it. Only when I start applying
colors do the bones reveal themselves. And they are symmetrical. Long bones 
match in length. There are no duplicates (like three tails). I can't wait to go 
to Europe and China to check my work. And I'll have the benefit of knowing what 
looking for before going.

I also test by making reconstructions. And I also test by plotting characters 
in a cladogram. Tonight I discovered that I made a lateral digit in the pes of 
Dorygnathus too short. On another night, I had the same problem with the tibia 
Germanodactylus rhamphastinus. You bet I have errors, but I have multiple means 
of finding them and correcting them.

Jaime's test is a good one. So good, in fact, that it has already happened -- 
but I'm sworn to secrecy for the present, as you might imagine. Sorry.

I have also been as forthright as possible with my findings -- hiding nothing. 
I'd rather have someone else find the errors than to perpetuate even one.

Re: Silvio's problems in replicating my results -- am I forgetting something or 
am I not in the loop here? Silvio and I have worked together on similar 
problems -- always, I'm led to believe, to good results.

"Preparation at play around the bones" is something I must be wary of. That's 
why I took so long (a few days) to announce the discovery. Of course, that was 
my first thought too.

Re: an expectation of discovery: If you find a skull, you look for the neck. If 
you find a sacrum you look for the tail. I looked at over 70 pterosaurs with 
this technique before the frill popped out. If it takes you any number less, 
you are a better palaeontologist than I am and I congratulate you ahead of 
time. I had Anurognathus done, finished last spring without a dorsal frill. 
Then two weeks ago -- back to the drawing board.

Remember when we were raising the tails of Tyrannosaurus and Stegosaurus off 
the ground? Well it's kind of like that, all over again with pterosaurs.

With best wishes for all.
And I sincerely hope this is the last of the mysteries pterosaurs are going to 
reveal because I dearly want to get back to the quiet existence of my cladogram.

By the way, the (Huanhepterus + ?Ctenochasma porocristata + azhdarchid) naris 
never became confluent with the antorbital fenestra. And yes, I have pictures. 
And yes, I have an answer for the "solid" rostrum of Q. sp.

David Peters
St. Louis

"Jaime A. Headden" wrote:

> David Peters (davidrpeters@earthlink.net) wrote:
> <I'm simply encouraging the use of superior technology. And the results
> speak for themselves. Its verifiable. It's emailable. And it's just going
> to take some getting used to.>
>   As Silvio Renesto wrote, this technique is only verifiable if one has
> the original slab to counter-check observations; which he did, and had a
> variety of problems doing so. The irregularity of the slab surface WILL
> cause features to show up. This is even more evident when preparation is
> at play around bones, but the technique suggests that there were features
> in these areas prepared away. This requires extensive double-checking.
> This is not an argument against the technique, but a caution on its
> "discoveries." The technique discussed in a recent paper in
> _Palaeontologica Electronica_ only found use of the camera to digitally
> enhance, rather than "discover" materials.
>   There is a simple test as to determinants of features as found through
> this technique. Get a slab/counterslab set of a fossil from any Lagerstät
> bed, such as Chengjiang or Messel, which no one has seen. With the manner
> in which these fossils have been found, this should be very easy. One slab
> is sent to an individual who, only knowing the methodology of the
> technique, then prepares to use it to discover features on the slab that
> may represent unrecovered features. The other slab is treated to
> conventional techniques (camera lucida, x-ray, UV, microscope, etc.) by
> another person who has no communication with the first or the person
> managing the test, and the two researchers' results are compared when
> complete. This would be a double-blind test that would then be compared by
> a third research or group. The ready availability of the various
> techniques would be made available, of course, but this would remove the
> subjectivity of what is expected, at least partially.
>   Something said in this thread made me curious, in that upon "discovery"
> of a unique structure or serious of them in one animal, Dave then went and
> "found" these in every other taxon he recovered a slab preservation. Was
> there, in fact, and expectation of recovery? I do not know, Dave. I would
> like to have a clarity of mind on this matter.
>   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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