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

Jura <pristichampsus@yahoo.com> wrote:

> What I don't understand is why extraordinary finds like
> this seem to get a free ride on this list. 

I'm not sure that extraordinary discoveries do get a free ride.  Note the 
skeptical responses to the venomous _Sinornithosaurus_ paper (published in 
PNAS).  Alternative interpretations to _Balour_ having a 'double-bladed' foot 
also got an airing on the DML.

> 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.

I wholeheartedly agree.  However... the trouble is that there is no unanimity 
with regards to "we".  For example, many of us have become jaded with the 
BANDits deriding/dismissing any and all fossil discoveries that link birds to 
dinosaurs.  "_Microraptor_ has wings, and so therefore it must be a bird" and 
similar nonsense.  So I don't think it is necessarily helpful to immediately 
question the veracity of a discovery just because it goes against "our" 
pre-conceived notions.

In the case of the "quill knobs" on _Concavenator_, you originally wrote:

     "Sad, it really just reads like the authors want these to be quill
      knobs more than anything else. Maybe the actual paper offers better

Thus, you (1) queried the authors' motivation in making such an interpretation, 
and (2) expressed your skepticism prior to even viewing the paper (and the 
authors' reasoning therein).  Although you are quite possibly correct in your 
skepticism regarding quill knobs on a carnosaur, the very concept alone should 
not immediately invite skepticism (or cynicism).  To me, it is quite reasonable 
that a carnosaur might have had feathery arms and a scaly body.  

Note, if _Concavenator_'s 'quill knobs' actually denote an intermuscular line 
rather than anchor points for feather homologs, then the question of whether or 
not _Concavenator_ had feathers is still open.