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RE: Paul's New Dino field guide

Heh, that was a good one.

One other small typo: "Synapsidia" on pg. 13, line 7 of the "What Is a Dinosaur?" section.

Nicholas J. Pharris

"An education isn't how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It's being able to differentiate between what you know and what you don't."

--Anatole France

Quoting Tim Williams <tijawi@yahoo.com>:

I noted a small typo on page 96: Rhoetosaurus brownie.

Either an overzealous spellchecker is responsible, or GSP had the munchies.

(It certainly made me hungry...)


--- On Tue, 25/5/10, Michael Mortimer <mickey_mortimer111@msn.com> wrote:

From: Michael Mortimer <mickey_mortimer111@msn.com>
Subject: RE: Paul's New Dino field guide
To: dinosaur@usc.edu
Received: Tuesday, 25 May, 2010, 3:53 PM

Ian Paulsen wrote-

> Here are some sample pages from Greg Paul's
forthcoming Dino Field Guide:
> http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/s1_9287.pdf

Hmm.  Gotta say I'm disappointed.  I loved PDW
and DA, but this seems far less technical (not that PDW was
even particularly technical).  No specimen numbers are
included, so the length and mass estimates are not very
useful. Still, I was hoping for discussions of individual
taxa ala PDW, but at most a well known genus might get a
couple sentences.

My biggest problem though is that as a field guide, the
main objective would be to describe and illustrate the
distinguishing features so that one could identify dinosaur
species.  But of the 12 taxon entries shown, 8 say
"insufficient information" or "standard for group x" under
the anatomical characteristics section.  And these
aren't nomina dubia either, except perhaps
Dystrophaeus.  To say Herrerasaurus' anatomy is
standard for baso-theropods is just wrong.  You can
even see some of the diagnostic characters used by Sereno
and Novas in Paul's skeletal reconstruction- opisthopubic
pelvis, shortened tibia, posterior ischial outline a right
angle, etc..  It would have been better to discuss or
list each species' diagnosis, then have skeletal
reconstructions and/or a few of the most distinctive bones
illustrated, with lines pointing toward several of the most
obvious characters.  Then if you hypothetically had a
complete dinosaur specimen, you could actually use the field
guide to identify it.  As it is, it's like opening a
Peterson Fiel
cribed only as having a ruddy breast,
while the wood thrush, varied thrush and veery are merely
said to be "standard for songbirds."  As for Bicknell's
thrush?  Insufficient information.

Mickey Mortimer    
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