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RE: No substitute for seeing a specimen

Hey ho,

In my last comment on this thread I stated that Chris Bennett's publications 
were no-longer available online. Happily, I was wrong: they've just been moved. 
You can find Chris' publication list and pdfs at:




Dr. Mark Witton

Palaeobiology Research Group
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Portsmouth
Burnaby Building
Burnaby Road

Tel: (44)2392 842418
E-mail: Mark.Witton@port.ac.uk
>>> Anthony Docimo <keenir@hotmail.com> 09/05/10 7:33 PM >>>

> Date: Sun, 9 May 2010 10:47:07 -0500
> From: davidpeters@att.net
> To: dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject: Re: No substitute for seeing a specimen
> Unfortunately you're all forgetting the one critical feature in this 
> argument: human nature. It's human nature to trace/identify the easy stuff, 
> then maybe the not so easy stuff, and forget about the difficult stuff,
 so then why trace?
> Why are tracings important? They are the only way to communicate to others 
> what you see and what you can identify.
 I thought paleontologists used drawings for that.
> They are simplifications of reality that represent your interpretation of the 
> reality. Which cracks are sutures? And which cracks are just cracks? And what 
> bone part just barely peeks out from under the pile that can be tied to 
> another bone part elsewhere in the pile?
> If there really is "no substitute" for seeing a fossil,
Wait...let me see if I understand this:   you're saying that scientists (who 
have studied the fossils firsthand) are wrong because they are biased by their 
interpredation of the reality.
...and you want them to do tracings - so they can further represent their 
interpretation of the reality??

> Certainly photographs can contain illusionary data. That's why a good 
> interpretation comes with a cladistic analysis. Autapomorphies often reveal 
> themselves to be mistaken interpretations, that, with second sight, can be 
> corrected.
 hindsight, maybe.
> As scientists don't you test everything? Even your most cherished beliefs.
 I believe I can not walk up my wall and onto my ceiling.  you're welcome to 
prove me wrong, though.
> So, bottom line, if I'm so wrong, then anyone should be able to slam-dunk my 
> interpretation with theirs. Just do it. 
 they already did.  (the citation is likely sitting in your Inbox by now)
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