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Re: reply to D. Naish: distrust makes good science!

Whether I made no mistakes, three mistakes, a dozen mistakes or a hundred mistakes on character coding, all YOU have to do is plug those TAXA into any pterosaur inhabitated cladogram and let the results speak for themselves.

I'll keep saying the same thing again: Yes! Just wait for the papers. Hone's thesis and Atanassov's thesis will be published, and my thesis will hopefully also include that topic. Just be patient.

On the other hand, the very first Photoshop interpretation I ever attempted was tracing the skull of the first langobardisaur hidden beneath its ribs. The result was much closer to that of the second big-eyed langobardisaur than that which was originally figured. So some tracings do come out right.

Unfortunately that doesn't help those any that don't come out right.

I eagerly support any and all independent testing of any candidates I have proposed and still stand by them. Whenever independent testing of fenestrasaurs happens, someone please let me know.

Hone's thesis? W4tP.

If you're convinced that archosaurs with their atrophied lateral digits and deep chevrons make better pterosaur cousin candidates than Huehuecuetzpalli > Longisquama then let's see your cards. Really. And now is a good time.

Nope, it's not, because the relevant works aren't published yet. We don't want to deprive their authors of the opportunity of publishing a paper in a high-impact-factor journal, do we? Depending on the country, this could be an assault on their careers before those have even begun.

(Disclaimer: I haven't had access to either of the theses. I don't know more about them than you.)

re: Photoshop. It is the only verifiable tool available when you need to study hundreds of specimens and you don't have a 'golden ticket' to go around the world to see them in person. It provides for hyper-accurate tracing, sharing of electronic files, and feedback on multiple file layers -- in other words: discussion with the tracer on an accurate rendition base of an image of the fossil itself. What could be better? And by 'verifiable' I mean: I WANT you to find errors so that rectifications can be made.

Tracings can't be better than the photos on which they are based. Using descreened photos is garbage-in-garbage-out. That's a fact. The same holds for tiny photos, low-resolution photos, photos taken with bad lighting, photos taken from just not quite the right angle, and so on and so forth.

Which reminds me: When will you comment the tracings I made almost two years ago? As long as you don't, I'll keep asking.

Or are you saying that ALL my observations are mistakes, including the big highly visible bones?

No, just most of them. I wrote a long DML post on that topic two years ago.

I hope you're NOT saying, that because I've bungled a few observations, you reject the possibility that these taxa are unworthy candidates for sharing pterosaur DNA? (David Hone, please take note before publishing the next chapter of your dissertation.)

Nobody is saying that. Darren in particular made it very clear that he isn't -- read his post again.

I also hope you're NOT saying that if I agree with and use the observations of others that they share my malady.

Oh no. What comes to mind is that I remember you writing that *Claudiosaurus* had a complete infratemporal bar because a (2D) line drawing of the skull in lateral view showed the pterygoids, which are similar in thickness to an infratemporal bar, but lie medial to them.

Trash me. Don't trash the taxa.

Better yet: we trash your interpretations of the photos and drawings of the taxa.

I admit, as I have admitted for some time, that what I am searching for can be so ephemeral that illusions can appear.

I have tried to demonstrate that they appear most of the time, see above.

Resolution is sometimes not good.

So you FURTHER DECREASE it by descreening?

I do push for the most out of my data.

Far beyond.

But I've also documented more fossils in this clade than any other worker.


I also wonder if most of my observations are illusions why some illusions are the same in sister taxa and why they don't jump out in cladograms as awkward exceptions and grevious errors?

Because you can, and do, interpret anything into the irregular surface of a slab (and sometimes even the regular surface of a bone, such as the "5th finger" you "found" in *Noripterus*). It doesn't have to be conscious to be wishful thinking.

As I've often said, in my cladograms you can delete up to a third of the characters at random and still arrive at the same single tree phylogeny.

Maybe you're misusing PAUP*? When you sent me your NEXUS file (long ago), it had a tree in it.

You can add taxa at will and do the same. No current phylogenetic analysis can make that claim. It's chronological. It creates morphological blends. That's what we're looking for, right?

That's what we _would be_ looking for if we _knew_ that the fossil record is complete or almost complete.

Perhaps because my data matrix is so large and that to inspect it would be such a daunting challenge that the best course to avoid the work would be by chipping away at a few characters? I hope not.

Indeed not. When I had a short glance at it (again: long ago), I found heaps of problems immediately, and told you so.

If, as David Hone and Chris Bennett have done, a few characters are attacked in order to undermine the entire description and thus reject the taxon as unworthy, then all they have done is to attack the messenger.

They haven't done anything, except telling everyone to... guessed it... wait for the paper.

So, let's do that.