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Re: On pterosaurs and photoshop (was Re: Good news for Eosipterus fans)

My supevisors always caution me to look at the
original material before making any statements. Claims
from photos are very dangerous.
Meor Hakif Hassan
Geology Department,
University of Malaya
50603 Kuala Lumpur
--- Michael Hanson <mhanson54@attbi.com> wrote:
> I still see nothing! The skull you are talking about
> doesn't exist!
> I say that one should take a good look at the actual
> specimen before making
> assumptions. After taking a look at all these
> threads I'm starting to
> wonder, why hasn't Dave Peters taken into account
> preparation work,
> deterioration, age, glue stains, paint stains, etc.,
> these all have a huge
> effect on how the fossil looks. The "babies" you
> talk about could also be
> the result of lumps of sediment or some fosilized
> invertebrates. I say that
> its time to go back to those "old school" methods
> rather than picking out
> every single feature in the rock and then saying
> that its a dorsal frill, a
> bone, a baby, etc. IMO having an open mind in
> paleontology is great but when
> taken too far, open-mindedness can cause the
> paleontologist and his/her
> audience much trouble and misguidence. looking at
> things in photoshop will
> never prove better than having the actal fossil in
> one's own hands to study
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "David Peters" <davidrpeters@earthlink.net>
> To: "dinosaur list" <dinosaur@usc.edu>; "Lu,
> Junchang"
> <junchang@mail.smu.edu>; "Kevin Padian"
> <kpadian@socrates.Berkeley.EDU>
> Sent: Saturday, March 29, 2003 12:10 PM
> Subject: Good news for Eosipterus fans
> Hi gang,
> Previously it was reported (refs below) that the
> Chinese pterodactyloid,
> Eosipterus, lacked a head, cervicals, and a good
> humerus. I don't know
> how we all missed this before, but there is a giant
> skull in the middle
> of the plate from top to bottom, two mandibles on
> the right half of the
> plate, and the humerus is well marked. Scleral rings
> are present and so
> are lots of articulated teeth. The back of the skull
> is disarticulated,
> but that's good news because access to the specimen
> should provide a
> good look at the braincase and palate.
> It's a skull quite like that of Germanodactylus
> rhamphastinus, with a
> sharp but toothy premaxilla (well dilineated with
> four teeth) and a
> total length equal to the occiput-vent length. Dr.
> Unwin and I have
> discussed the relationships of Eosipterus privately.
> It's nice to have
> confirmation that one can judge a germanodactylid by
> its metatarsus.
> It may also be a testament to the scanning
> technique. I used the small
> (less than 2x2") color picture that appeared in
> Nature (see below)
> whereas others had access to the specimen. I'm sorry
> I missed it
> earlier, but  I followed previous reports which I
> assumed were factual,
> rather than relying on my number one roadkill rule:
> if it's articulated,
> it's complete.
> In addition, there are a few bits and pieces from
> other pterosaurs, as
> I'm finding is typical of lacustrine deposits - none
> are quite small
> enough to fit into the newborn category.
> The dorsal frill and lots of skin in the form of
> wing membranes and
> uropatagia are present. These stains and shapes may
> have confused
> earlier workers and added to the apparent chaos. In
> contrast to earlier
> reports, Eosipterus may yet provide a treasure trove
> of information.
> For those of you who still regard the scanning
> technique as inferior to
> actual observation of the fossil, perhaps this
> ?little discovery will
> quietly sway a few to some small degree of
> acceptance. Once again I say,
> the new technique merely places order on the
> apparent chaos of a
> roadkull fossil, enabling careful dilineation of
> every bump and stain so
> that all parts of a fossil can be identified, rather
> than dismissed or
> ignored.
> Now that we know where the skull is, good first-hand
> observation should
> be the next step. Let's look for those cervicals!
> More later,
> David Peters
> St. Louis
> Ji S.-A. & Ji Q. (1997) Discovery of a new pterosaur
> in Western
> Liaoning, China. Acta Geologica Sinica 71(1), 1-6
> [in Chinese]. 71(2),
> 115-121 [in English].
> Ji S.-A., Ji, Q. and Padian. K. (1999)
> Biostratigraphy of new pterosaurs
> from China. Nature 398: 573-574
> Unwin, D.M., Lü J. and Bakhurina, N.N. (2000) On the
> systematic and
> stratigraphic significance of pterosaurs from the
> Lower Cretaceous
> Yixian Formation (Jehol Group) of Liaoning, China. 
> Mitteilngen der
> Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin,
> Geowissenschftlichen Reihe 3,181-206

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