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Re: Defending Photoshop, defending the interpreter

>  JH wrote:

> Anyone who examines a laminating
> strate will tell you that these are compressive regions that hold fossils
> within or between layers, never through them, so one will not find traces of
> the fossils just as the surface of an unsplit Solnhofen slab doesn't tell you
> if there's a fish or pterosaur in it until you crack the thing open.

You've never heard of, oh, what is the term for ichnites that appear a layer or
two down from the original skin impression layer? Even more pertinent is the 
that a fossil is more than just bones in the case of Solnhofen fossils. The soft
tissues of the creature are still there, only substantially erased or enlarged 
calcification. Yet bedding planes follow the body contours to such an extent 
sometimes the bones have to dug out.

>   So I will repeat my argument: This isn't about the tools, it's about the
> interpreter, and is yet another reason why personal examination should be used
> to base these theories on, not tracings in Photoshop. Note that, once again, I
> use Photoshop, but I do so merely as an illustrative tool, not an 
> investigative
> technique.

If only one or two specimens showed the details I propose, then yes, blame the
interpreter. But when dozens do. And when they don't add steps to phylogenetic
analyses. And the resulting hypotheses explain more than pure figments not based
on fossils (colugo lizards, for instance). Or when deep chord wing membranes are
sought but not found. Or a uropatagium that stretches from one leg to the other
without touching the tail, or a propatagium with actinofibrils, or mistaking an
anurognathid embryo for an ornithocheirid, or reconstrucing a pterosaur skull
upside down, or finding a pterygoid where none was notice before, or a phalanx
four submerged beneath legs. All these observations have been fixed in 
And dozens more, of course.

If you have any problem with any of them, it is imperative for the sake of the
science, that you start making notes and repairs to the work. Point by point. It
is imperative that giant pterosaur phalanges be exposed as tree trunks. That
slow-growing 'morphing' juvenile pterosaurs are exposed as phylogenetic series,
rather than ontogenetic. That mechanical pterosaurs be given the proper wing
shape. And that extremely tiny juvenile pteros be exposed as pin scratches.

I'll give you credit, as I gave Chris Bennett credit, if you do.

David Peters

>   Cheers,
> Jaime A. Headden
> "Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969)
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