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Re: The big story at SVP

On Fri, Sep 25, 2009 at 3:44 PM, Graydon <oak@uniserve.com> wrote:
> On Fri, Sep 25, 2009 at 03:31:02PM +0200, Andreas Johansson scripsit:
>> On Fri, Sep 25, 2009 at 3:28 PM, Graydon <oak@uniserve.com> wrote:
> [snip]
>> > He presumably thinks it *is* an early bird, in the no-bird-is-a-
>> > dinosaur sense, and is being quoted at shorter length than what he said.
>> > (Note that the descriptive text about his statement only makes sense if
>> > he thinks the specimen is not a dinosaur.)
>> Hm? How does "showing just how blurred the distinctions are between
>> groups in this area of the dinosaur evolutionary tree" make any sense
>> if the specimen *isn't* a dinosaur?
> Â Â Â Â::Alan Feduccia, a palaeo-ornithologist at the University of North
> Â Â Â Â::Carolina, Chapel Hill, says the new fossil species adds a "dazzling 
> new
> Â Â Â Â::piece to the complicated puzzle of early bird evolution", showing 
> just
> Â Â Â Â::how blurred the distinctions are between groups in this area of the
> Â Â Â Â::dinosaur evolutionary tree."
> In an article that's been talking about the "oldest feathered dinosaur",
> this is a statement from Feduccia that it's an early bird, plus a
> subordinate clause from the article writer to the effect of "oh, look,
> there's argument about this portion of the dinosaur family tree", which
> is the writer's indirect editorial comment to the effect that Dr.
> Feduccia may not be speaking from a position where he has the weight of
> consensus behind him.
> So the writer thinks it's necessary to point out that, yes, really, this
> is a dinosaur, which only makes sense if Dr. Feduccia is of the opinion
> that it's *not* a dinosaur.

But Feduccia is not, in the bit quoted, saying it's not a dinosaur,
leaving a reader unfamiliar with Feduccia's views the impression that
the writer is clarifying and/or expanding on Feduccia's views rather
than contradicting them.

I see in the comments that Brian Switek read it the same way as I did.

Andreas Johansson

Why can't you be a non-conformist just like everybody else?