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Tyranno volume review
Brusatte's JVP review of the T rex symposium volume is pretty good but I
have a few comments. Brusatte keeps stating that those chapters he likes could
have been published in a peer reviewed journal, and as Jerry and George
said in the Seinfeld episode in which they were mistaken as gay, not that
there's anything wrong with that. Brusatte criticizes my chapter as not being
suitable for a peer reviewed journal. He is correct, but he is wrong in finding
this to be an automatic problem. One of the reasons we have academic books
is so that researchers can produce studies that do not fit into the narrow
confines of journals, and can have more appeal for the general public.
Brusatte uses a James Dean analogy to criticize my that T rex "grew rapidly
and died remarkably young." There is actually nothing over the top about my
scientifically accurate statement, and I never thought of James Dean while
writing it, in fact I don't really get the connection since Dean died
prematurally for a human due to a technology related accident, while the
typical lifespan of T. rex appears to have been three decades short of
similar sized elephants. It is Brusatte who is being over the top in invoking a
movie star's name.
Nor does Brusatte note that much of my chapter is actually conservative, in
that I debunk a lot of speculative ideas about tyrannosaurs, such as the
lack of solid evidence that they were highly social and parental. Another,
conservative researcher sent me a note in appreciation of this point. As for
the length of the chapter it was meant to cover a broad array of topics about
tyrannosaurs at a time when our knowledge base as expanded to a level hard
to imagine just a decade or two ago, which is a good idea for the one book
that celebrated the 100th anniversary of the species. The other shorter
chapters were more narrowly focused.
Brusatte is exhibiting the unfortunate tendency we humans have to be
controlling in wanting others to conform by doing things in a particular
manner. It is generally better to limit ones criticisms to matters of
accuracy and analysis rather than of taste.