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Re: More New Papers LIVES!

Obviate Ptolemism.


----- Original Message ----
From: Tim Williams <twilliams_alpha@hotmail.com>
To: dinosaur@usc.edu
Sent: Monday, April 30, 2007 8:50:22 PM
Subject: RE: More New Papers LIVES!

Jerry Harris wrote:

>Feduccia, A., Martin, L.D., and Tarsitano, S. 2007. Archaeopteryx 2007: quo 
>vadis? Auk 124(2):373-380.
>(In case you're wondering, its really more of the same boilerplate this 
>trio has been pushing for a couple of decades now, applied in many ways to 
>"microraptors" -- which are birds, of course [!] -- in comparison to 
>_Archaeopteryx_, with some emphasis on the Thermopolis specimen.  Lots of 
>assertions, little data to back them up, and no point-by-point discussions 
>of the numerous things they've already said that have been rebutted 
>elsewhere.  >>>SIGH<<<)

I have to say that, although the paper is loaded with the same 
misrepresentations and misconceptions as previous papers by this trio, it is 
slightly less incendiary in tone.  Although arguing against the hypothesis 
that birds evolving from theropods, Feduccia &c do accept that a close 
relationship exists between dromaeosaurs and birds.  That's one of a very 
few well-supported assertions made in the paper.

As before, Feduccia &c support the bewildering notion that birds and dromies 
are not theropods, and that birds/dromaeosaurs and theropods evolved from 
separate archosaur ancestors with a pentadactyl manus.  The usual suspects 
rear their ugly heads: a ground-up origin of flight is said to be "largely 
falsified", as is the presence of feathers in non-avian theropods; 
microraptorans are said to have held their legs outward, and so could not 
have been obligate bipeds; primitive theropods could not give rise to birds 
because their forelimbs were too short; and so on.  Mickey Mortimer would 
have a field day.

The paper also features this unintentionally humorous (?Freudian) slip by 
Feduccia &c: "The interpretation of microraptors as an early offshoot of the 
ancient avian lineage obviates the deficiencies of the theropod origin of 
birds."  But the word "obviate" does NOT mean "to make obvious"; it actually 
means "to render unnecessary".  Oops.



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