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Re: back to pteros, [yada, yada]

----- Original Message ----- From: "David Peters" <davidrpeters@earthlink.net>
Sent: Wednesday, August 03, 2005 3:00 PM

And the drawing of lines on a slab perceiving that the completely prepared
matrix in a chalk bedding plane described "hidden" bones? This was the case for
another published objection to this technique on the basis of *Nyctosaurus* sp.
Since the slab itself was prepared down to recover bones within the chalk, it
is impossible for impressions of bones or tissues to be preserved out of the
bedding plane recovered.

Time will tell. When other skeletons arise we can compare them to the
ephemeral ones.

This still wouldn't mean that the ephemeral ones ever existed.

the positions of the nasal bone itself, and a developmental series in
pterosaurs offers evidence for a particular fusion of the external naris with
the antorbital fenestra, the "classic" model, which, while "classic" and
therefore "wrong", objections have to go through as much scientific rigor to
overturn it.

I disagree and I show numerous examples at pterosaurinfo.com.

Well, here http://www.pterosaurinfo.com/abittersdorffii.html for example the two "nares" occur in a damaged region of the maxilla where you have yourself traced numerous breaks in the bone.

Using cracks and holes that are present all over the skulls of
most pterosaurs preserved in slabs to find these special ones and then to
identify them as external nares is _a priori_ observation. For example, what
stops these "holes" from being foramina or subnarial fenestrae?

a jugal below and a nasal above, as in all pterosaurs.

A jugal? Below the naris???

This http://www.pterosaurinfo.com/criorhynchus_insitu.html looks completely surreal. Why should the jugal have such an extremely long process that overlies the maxilla? It looks weirder than in an ichthyosaur (see the newest JVP for the bizarre things those critters did with their extra-thick skull roofs).
This is of course something that is very easy to test by seeing the specimen -- much more easily than most of the results of photointerpretation.

Indeed, one theory about beaked animals is that they should
have many foramina on the bones supporting the rhamphothecal
sheath for the purpose of ennvervation. Instead,
they are "the naris 'that shouldn't be there'."

show me sheath extended back to the AOF.

Considering how far forward the AOF extends... why shouldn't it?

Funny thing is, these cloud-like ephemera fit the phylogenetic puzzle. One
can trace the development through many specimens.

The other way around.

You enter the cloud-like ephemera into your matrix _as data_, and PAUP* _makes_ the tree _based on_ the data it gets. The ephemera _cannot help_ fitting the puzzle because the puzzle _is designed for_ being the most parsimonious interpretation of the ephemera. The puzzle fits the ephemera. It is _meaningless_ to claim it the other way around.

Psychology and neurobiology teach us that when we try to look at something
where the image is fuzzy or unclear, our eyes will fill in the missing details
and our minds will try to fit something familiar into the gaps. This will give
us a picture in our heads not entirely consistent with the actual object we

Except that this time it is entirely consistent with other specimens.

Because those other specimens are "something familiar" that you "try to fit" "into the gaps"?

This few pixels business occurs on occasion. Otherwise I'm recovering
entire bones and fenestra from high-resolution photographs.

"This few pixels business" must not occur at all -- sorry for my patronizing tone, but the creation of information (as opposed to the interpretation of already existing information) isn't science.

This is another reason why Chris Bennett
has argued that to substantiate these claims, it is required to see the
specimens themselves and show them in detail.

Ironically Chris provides at his website a great closeup of AMNH 1942 in
which the large naris is very clearly set off from the AOF once the broken pieces
are repaired and replaced.

Looking for that I've found this:
Fig. 6 not only shows clearly that "Much of Peters' 'baby' consists of scratches made by the preparator"; it also shows that the wing phalanges are split, visible in longitudinal section.

Sometimes ridiculous claims, like Beebe's 4-winged proto bird,
become reality.

(This particular claim hasn't become reality. *Microraptor* still hasn't learned how to sprawl.)

Dave, if my tone sounds unwarrantly critical, it's not that I don't like you;
you are an awesome man and I am glad to have met you. I hope I do not have to
say this about anyone anymore, since as a scientist and a student, I know I
will never learn all I can, but will make an effort of it. Fighting for rigor
in scientific practice when I see a need will always be a driving force in my
social interactions, I fear.

It might be better yet if you were to say, "show me, I want to learn."

Maybe, but this would presuppose that you have something to teach, instead of testing that hypothesis... :-}