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Re: New Ruben Paper



I came across this 
http://www.springerlink.com/content/365408287l2v655x/?p=d5f021e383774046ba859f7583df787e&pi=8
 taday (again); at least the paper itself ought to be open access. 

It could have been hyped in a similar way; it wasn't. Being no expert on 
_Longisquama_ I cannot judge it, but the conclusion looks reasonable.

Whereas Quick et al (and particularly Ruben in his snippet) make the mistake of 
assuming things that went on inside the zona incognita between the sampled 
taxa. We only know that there *was* major change of characters between nonavian 
theropods (or earlier) and Neornithes. That is better than knowing nothing, but 
knowing that there was *no* change is easier to deal with.

How, where from, when, where, and why this change happened is speculation 
without denser taxon sampling. What was the situation in, say, _Eoenantiornis_, 
_Confuciusornis_, _Gansus_, _Ichthyornis_? And in _Rahonavis_, _Microraptor_, 
scansoriopterygids? To name only a few arbitrary choices.

It is useless to propose alternatives to BAT as long as BAT is not falsified. 
And if done smartly, an attempt at falsification is done in a way so that the 
data is still useful in the scope of BAT if the attempt at falsification fails.


Regards,

Eike