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RE: Stenopelix valdensis

I'm not reducing this to a personal spat, because it
is not worth my time, and tomorrow I will head to the
field anyway (no doubt you shall get the final, and
many other words on the matter). 

You publicly insulted a peer-reviewed author's work,
questioning their position as a scientist causing
offence. You did not make any admission that offence
was not your original intention. Indeed, your reply to
my previous posting contained further statements which
confirmed your intent not to critique, but to insult
and offend. You are reducing the credibilty of this
list to a gossip factory.

I am not the only person who finds this misconduct
inappropriate. I wonder if you know which of your
peers also disapprove? 

Regarding dissent on the Stenopelix chracters: it
isn't my place to represent people's views on this
list, but you should be aware that some highly
respected (I am sure that you appreciate what this
means) researchers remain unconvinced as to how strong
the marginocephalia really is. Yinlong was published
in a short paper which did not fully illustrate nor
describe the postcrania. Further analysis may
strengthen the marginocephalia as a natural grouping,
I don't mind at all; it would certainly fit the
stratigraphy okay, but it doesn't mean that we
shouldn't currently discount other hypotheses because
they disagree with yours. Generally I've found there
is an element of truth in everyone's work, so
everything is worth noting. Like I say, it's about
people's observations vs interpretations.

Cladistics is a useful tool that produces hypotheses
that are testable by comparison to the stratigraphic
record. There are some fundamental problems and
ironies with the method that are not resolvable
without adding levels of subjectivity, but it is
currently the best we have. Caution is not necessarily
a bad thing when it comes to taxonomy, although it is
unlikely to get you published in such grand journals.
I am not saying that I agree with Bob or anyone's
opinion on stenopelix, or pachy taxonomy. I am stating
that you were intending on being offensive and
disrespectful, to which you have shown no remorse nor

I will not be commenting further. I have specimens to
collect. Whether or not you value fieldwork is your
own opinion, but note that the successful cladists out
there all have equally successful field programmes,
and real and extensive field experience. You cannot
gain a true appreciation of time, stratigraphy,
variation, or the fossil record as a whole, unless you
actually go out into it and dig.


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