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Re: Avian origin questioned by John Ruben

It's not fair to characterize Ruben as the only person publishing such papers, nor is it fair to view his entire career in light of his papers on bird origins. Also, while Ruben, Larry Martin, Alan Fedduccia, and a few others do seem to organize their responses with one another, it probably isn't fair to characterize their collaboration as "an organization devoted to denying birds are dinosaurs".

That said, it's true that Ruben and his colleagues have published several papers of questionable veracity on the subject, and that these papers often seem to have similar flaws, including an apparent lack of familiarity with dissenting data (which in this case is the vast majority of the data), and claims that do not always follow from the data. In this particular case, the paper quoted by Science Daily does not actually make any claims about bird origins; those claims rest solely in the press release, which you can read here: http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archives/2009/jun/discovery-raises-new-doubts-about-dinosaur-bird-links

That's right...there isn't any mention at all of birds origination from dinosaurs or anywhere else in the paper. Why Oregon State would release a press statement who's main theme are claims not made in the actual paper is beyond me (although I'll blame a scientifically illiterate PR person taking Ruben's line and not checking the statement against anything). It's even more sad that Science Daily, an ostensibly=2 0respectable source of online science news, would simply publish the press release more or less wholesale without any additional investigation/reporting to a public that doesn't have the means to check up. But that's the reality; the SD article and the press release are literally making things up that are not in the peer-reviewed paper. BTW, I complained to SD about their brand of "reporting" and frankly I'd encourage other list members who are concerned about the quality of science news to do so as well. A couple of interviews, basic familiarity with the subject matter, or even browsing the actual paper all would have immediately called into question the wisdom of basing a news story entirely around the OSU press release.

That's why it's always important to go back to the original source, and you can pass that along to your anti-science acquaintance.

Scott Hartman
Science Director
Wyoming Dinosaur Center
110 Carter Ranch Rd.
Thermopolis, WY 82443
(800) 455-3466 ext. 230
Cell: (307) 921-8333


-----Original Message-----
From: mkivi@cc.joensuu.fi
To: dinosaur@usc.edu
Sent: Mon, Aug 3, 2009 2:46 pm
Subject: Avian origin questioned by John Ruben


The link above was actually sent to me by a creotard - I mean creationist who thought this single piece of paper is a proof agains evolution.Â

A plaoentologist (known as AronRa in youtube) "friend" of mine commented on the article:Â

"Every article trying to deny the ancestry of aves within theropoda are written by John Ruben. In the 1990s, Ruben formed an organization called B.A.N.D. (Birds Are Not Dinosaurs) for the purpose of denying the already mounting evidence to the contrary. Don't ask me why. It never made sense. At this point, his argument is already lost. Birds definitely ARE dinosaurs, but Ruben is determined never to admit that."Â

Any thoughts?Â

I'd mostly like to know about the credentials of this, Ruben character as well as any possible new discoveries on the behalf of theropoda/aves connection. The newest udate I have so far is Epidexipteryx hui - the protofeathered dinosaur that predates Archaeopteryx sp.Â