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Re: Extinction due to "blue balls"
From: Jeff Hecht <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Tetanurae@aol.com, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Re: Extinction due to "blue balls"
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 2004 09:09:38 -0400
For anybody who's interested, the journal reference is
(Miller et al, Environmental versus genetic sex determination; a possible
factor in dinosaur extinction? Fertility and Sterility, Vol.81, No.4,
The journal put out a press release, which was even less illuminating than
the news story. I have a hazy recollection that somebody proposed this
theory long ago, but I may be confused. As others have noted, it's very
hard to give it any serious credence because it makes no effort to match
the observed pattern of extinctions. In fact, I suspect it wound up in a
fertility journal because the referees wouldn't ask any troubling questions
about such things, or know that theropods were much closer to birds than to
-- Jeff Hecht
The other paper you are thinking of is probably this one:
Paladino, F. V., Spotila, J., Dodson, P. and Hammond. J. K. (1989).
Temperature dependent sex deterinination for reptiles, and the implications
for dinosaur population dynamics and possible extinction. Geol. Soc. Am.
Spec. Pap. 238: 63-70.
I haven't read either of them yet, so I don't know what new information
Miller et al. are adding.
I don't understand how this theory is to have any scientific value, since no
one knows how to study sex determination in non-neornithean dinosaurs. They
might as well be writing about the implications of dinosaurs having been a
particular colour. Looks like a publicity stunt to me: "Dinosaurs",
"Extinction" and "Sex" in one headline!
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