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Re: Martin 2004 critique



I agree that it is a dreadful paper. However, I don't think this is
an example of how the "system failed". The same issue of _Acta Zoologica Sinica_ also features an article by Sereno that argues that birds indeed evolved from dinosaurs (and so *are* dinosaurs). The editors were probably just trying to be even-handed. <<<

See, I think this IS a failure. Science is not about being "even-handed". It's not like all "political viewpoints" need to be heard in the interst of "fairness". That's the domain of Newsweek and Time, not Nature or AZS. Peer review should weed out papers that contain obvious factual errors, and the Martin paper does. It should never have seen the light of print, and the fact that another paper with an opposing viewpoint was in the same issue in no way excuses this oversight.

And to be even more blunt, I will say this is indeed a criticism of Martin. Larry has always been freindly to me, and I have always tried to return that courtesty, but if he truly is this unfamiliar with the relevant literature then he has no business writing a paper on the subject, and it's tragic that the editors of AZS provided a sounding board for such tripe.

Don't get me wrong, Martin (or anyone else) has every right to publish a contrary opinion on any subject in paleontology, that's not what bothers me. But it seems reasonable to expect certain standards in such papers, and his most recent paper does not make the grade, IMO.


Scott Hartman


Zoology & Physiology University of Wyoming Laramie, WY 82070

(307) 742-3799