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Re: Concavenator corcovatus, a new humped carcharodontosaurid from Las Hoyas

Much of this is probably redundant now, given the reevaluations by Mickey and 
Darren, but I figure I should chime in anyway.

--- On Thu, 9/9/10, David Marjanovic <david.marjanovic@gmx.at> wrote:

> Sometimes it reads just like Jura wants these to be
> anything else more than quill knobs. ;-)


All I ask for is some skepticism when it comes to out of the ordinary finds 
like this. It's really nothing more than being a good scientist. I don't know 
why everyone else seems to be so willing to accept these things without 

> Besides, I don't agree the abstract is overly enthusiastic.
> Quite the opposite. To me reads it reads like "they look
> like quill knobs, walk like quill knobs, quack like quill
> knobs -- surely we've overlooked something???".


It sounds like you were reading a different abstract than I. The authors state 
quite clearly in the text (of both the abstract and the actual paper) that they 
are interpreting these structures as quill knobs. No possible alternatives were 
ever proposed; not even in the supplementary material.


--- On Thu, 9/9/10, Tim Williams <tijawi@yahoo.com> wrote:

Hmmm... I really don't see why the idea of quill knobs in a carcharodontosaur 
is so controversial.  We already know that _Velociraptor_ had them.  
_Velociraptor_ couldn't fly, and there's no compelling evidence that it evolved 
from flighted ancestors.  So _Velociraptor_ tells us that the presence of quill 
knobs cannot be assumed to indicate flight ability.  _Concavenator_ tells us 
that quill knobs can exist in non-maniraptorans. 


What I don't understand is why extraordinary finds like this seem to get a free 
ride on this list. If a discovery pops up that causes us to question what we 
thought, the first thing we should do is question that discovery. If it passes 
that test then we should look into reworking what we thought.


--- On Thu, 9/9/10, Phillip Bigelow <bigelowp@juno.com> wrote:

> The big question is, if those aren't quill knobs, then what
> are they?
> Pathology (infection)?
> Developmental abnormality?
> Genetic mutation?
> Did the authors address these alternatives?
> <pb>


All good possible alternatives. As it stands right now, intermmuscular lines 
seem to be the most likely culprit. In answer to your question, though, no the 
authors did not even seem to consider any alternatives. As I stated on Tet Zoo, 
this might have had something to do with page limits in Nature, or the greater 
focus on the elongated two presacrals, but given that it was not addressed at 
all in the supplementary material makes me think that the authors really did 
just go with their first guess on this.