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

Look guys - it's  a Nature paper, there is no room for discussion of the
sort you want in that journal or its corresponding one Science. It is a real
challenge to take a paper that says anything and cut it down to the size you
are restricted to - it took more than 15 versions to finally do it for the
one I wrote. No doubt this will be taken up in spades in the follow up, much
expanded description they will publish on this but they had room for the
basic description and their interpretation and hardly that. These are
excellent paleontologists and I'm sure Pepelu and the guys have put in long
hours thinking about all the possible alternatives and that they will gladly
discuss them in that follow up. Go ahead and discuss and expand the
possibilities on the list as it is exciting but do not crap on the authors
who had to deal with the inhumane word counts you have to deal with in
publishing in those two journals.


-----Original Message-----
From: owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu [mailto:owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu] On Behalf Of
Sent: Thursday, September 09, 2010 10:05 PM
To: dinosaur@usc.edu
Subject: 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.