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Fwd: My response to allegations by Spencer Lucas
(Forwarded from Vrtpaleo with permission from Bill Parker.)
I must admit that I actually admired Dr. Spencer Lucas's point by point
rebuttal of the letter of complaint that I sent to the Department of Cultural
Affairs involving the *Heliocanthus/Rioarribasuchus* case. Someone
reading through his commentary without knowledge of the publication history
of these specimens would surely be swayed and his allegations of impropriety
towards me appear convincing. However, these comments are misleading and his
allegations demonstrably false.
1) I did in fact visit the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science
in the spring of 2003 with the permission of the staff. I have notes, time
stamped photos and an e-mail to support this. In addition I was accompanied
by a colleague who also has notes and photos from that day.
2) Never at any time was I informed by museum staff that I could not have
photos of the material. Dr. Lucas's claim that I inappropriately obtained
photos is untrue as is his statement on why he would not let Kate Zeigler
me with additional photos. This is supported by e-mail documentation.
3) Dr. Lucas provided me with explicit verbal permission to rename the
material and even suggested a name. This is based on a personal conversation
the NMMNHS in 2003 and was witnessed by a colleague.
4) Dr. Lucas's claims that they were unaware of my intent and that the
naming of *Rioarribasuchus* was based on his own independent conclusions is
demonstrably false. The truth lies in the literature history of the specimens,
including a review of a 2005 manuscript by Randall Irmis and myself in which
he refers to me as a "taxonomic splitter" and by a comment made in his own
report (p. 7). It states that "as for disagreement with Parker's assessment
that *Desmatosuchus* belonged to a new genus, at the time Lucas et al.
continued to believe the material to represent *Desmatosuchus*." This comment
regards to two papers published in 2005 by Lucas and colleagues, one of which
appears in the same volume as my paper
with Randy Irmis. This demonstrates that although they were aware of my
hypothesis they explicitly disagreed with me that the material was referable
a new genus. They can not claim their findings to be independent.
These crucial inaccuracies in Dr. Lucas's account have misled the Department
of Cultural Affairs, his supporters including Drs. Silberling and Anderson,
and the vertebrate paleontology community. It is now up to Dr. Lucas as well
as Dr. Hunt, and Mr. Speilmann (I am assuming that they are part of the
"us", and "we" referred to repeatedly in Lucas's written response) to explain
why, if they are innocent of any wrongdoing, they provided this erroneous
information. Furthermore Mr. Ashman and the Department of Cultural Affairs
explain why they did not allow testimony by Dr. Martz and myself at the
inquiry to properly defend ourselves from such false information and personal
attacks (including the letter by Norman Silberling). An expanded account of
points which I present above as well as the supporting evidence is available
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