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Re: Olson's review of Mesozoic Birds
> "But Caudipteryx is anything but an unambiguous theropod and the theropod
> origin can only be sustained if one wishes away the differences in the
> homologies of the digits of the hand and totally ignores the fundamental
> differences in tooth replacement pattern and ankle structure, as Witmer
> Do they never give up? It's appalling really. Why does Olson ignore
> Shenzhouraptor's completely theropod tarsus (Zhou and Zhang, 2002)?
Because he has never ever seen it. He hasn't read the paper, I bet. Why
should he? He's interested in Eocene stuff, not AT ALL in things so far away
Unlike Socrates, however, he doesn't know that he knows nothing. And the
same goes for the rest of the BAND. _This_ is what's appalling.
> Or Prum's (2003) argument showing Feduccia
> must make the same kind of genetic assumptions
> involved in a homeotic shift to get Archaeopteryx to lose a
> phalanx on each manual digit? Or the numerous rebuttals
> of the avian characters of Caudipteryx (Chiappe and Dyke,
> 2002; Christiansen and Bonde, 2002)?
I bet he hasn't read any of those either.
> Or Feduccia (2002) admitting feathered archosaurs had theropod-like
Who forces all BANDits to communicate with each other? :-)
> Who wants to guess Senter's (2002) analysis
> (http://www.cmnh.org/dinoarch/2002Oct/msg00295.html) including all
> non-dinosaurian bird relatives wouldn't convince Olson either?
"Would" is correct here -- if Olson would see that analysis.
> Olson really liked Elzanowski's chapter on archaeopterygids for serving
> a fresh-baked loaf of
> highly original, comprehensive, and intellectually stimulating insights".
> Though the chapter is good, I feel most of Elzanowski's "new"
> interpretations are invalid,
I agree. The forked postorbital process of the squamosal looks really weird
when it doesn't contact a postorbital.
> The impression Olson leaves one with is that he's not a fan of dry
> description, cladistics, or those clades not directly bearing on living
> birds. He seems much more interested in paleobiology and the "stem
> (to use an Olshevskyism) of Neornithes.
> "Only specialists will be able to appreciate much of the rest of the
> contents, which tend heavily toward description and knotty cladistic
YAY! I'm a specialist! I feel so honored... :-)
> "The book reflects Chiappe's long interest in the so-called opposite birds
> (Enantiornithes) and similar dead-end taxa that branched off somewhere
> between Archaeopteryx and modern birds and have no living descendents."
Being interested in dead-end taxa! How can he!
> "The terminal chapter by Chiappe on ''Basal Bird Phylogeny'' is an
> inscrutable justification for the accompanying character matrix, which
> perhaps be an entirely suitable finale if the end product of evolution
> a cladogram."
> Oh, but it is Olson.
Olson is what?
Or do you mean "Oh, but it is, Olson!"? ~:-|
> Olson then leaves us with several questions that could have easily come
> Pickering's keyboard, were they not constructed entirely of words that I
Very well said.
> "Just how diverse were Mesozoic birds compared with the Cenozoic
> What trophic levels did Mesozoic birds occupy and which ecomorphs known
> today were absent then and why?
Yay! He asks for negative evidence. Give me an even half-complete fossil
record, and we can talk.
> What limitations were placed on the
> evolution of Mesozoic birds by the constraints of their environments, the
> choice of nest sites and food afforded by the plants of the day, other
> potential food sources, potential competitors, predators, etc.?"
This _really_ reminds me of my parody of what papers Pickering wants to