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Re: Discovery tonight ... 8 pm

Mike Habib wrote:
> Indeed.  It would seem that this UV sight issue came up from a very
> brief set of conversations that I had with the writers on
> Quetzalcoatlus vision.  In essence, they asked me if its vision would
> be similar to that of birds.  My response, essentially, was that we
> obviously have no way to determine the visual system in detail, but
> that it was plausible for the acuity to be similar to other large,
> flying, non-echolocating animals, which would be things like living
> storks, raptors, etc.  Based on the Witton and Naish work on
> semiterrestrial habits, one might also speculate that the eyesight
> would be good enough to see prey on the ground.  Beyond that, no real
> information - the writers, of course, decided to be a bit more
> imaginative and bring in a mechanism seen in living raptors.

Mike's comments can be more generalized:

For those going to watch the show, a warning:
The documentarians often take anything that any of the talking heads
speculated about, and transformed these into declarative statements of
fact. In some cases this is particularly egregious, because I strongly
disagree with some of these statements and believe the facts are against
some of these (say, about tyrannosaurid cranial kinesis...)  and they
present these as facts rather than suppositions.

That, and the skeletal reconstructions seem to be from the committee for
the prevention of postorbitals and squamosals in saurischians...

But the Deinonychus have feathers, so I'm happy with that.

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Email: tholtz@umd.edu   Phone: 301-405-4084
Office: Centreville 1216
Senior Lecturer, Vertebrate Paleontology
Dept. of Geology, University of Maryland
Fax: 301-314-9661

Faculty Director, Earth, Life & Time Program, College Park Scholars
Faculty Director, Science & Global Change Program, College Park Scholars
Fax: 301-314-9843

Mailing Address:        Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                        Department of Geology
                        Building 237, Room 1117
                        University of Maryland
                        College Park, MD 20742 USA