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Re: Notes on scientifically comparative paleoposes

Congratulations - you just shot yourself in the foot again! And you
graduated from a dinky .22 to a shotgun!

Essentially, if one condenses your long rant to a single sentence, you
claim that different people use the same starting data so differently
that even if they aim for the same pose the results cannot be compared
because they are so different.

The differences are, as you elucidate, the different hypotheses - and
that is exactly the reason why using the same pose is desirable!
Differing poses may hide the underlying hypotheses, conscious or
unconscious, while using the same pose highlights them!

Let's take the example you hate so much: Plateosaurus.

I compared a number of reconstructions, see

I found that, among others, one was massively flawed because of
preconceived notions ("hypotheses"). Another one was perfect. If you
place the two next to each other, the differences will jump right at
you, despite one being in a quadrupedal, the other in a bipedal pose.
And golly, both use the same left-foot-pushing-off pose. If the
differences were smaller, using different poses might hide some. What
is especially telling, if the same pose is used, is how the creator
interprets the 3D articulation and shapes of bones. An area where you
tend to fail...... I suspect that you have trouble with 3D vision.

So using the same pose for scientific reconstructions is good for
science, and for the quality of scientific reconstructions.

To address the rest of your rant:
you continue to claim that the pose is a Paul brand. Let's get you
some information on that term:

I have NEVER, EVER heard of a brand established by repetition! NEVER!
Care to give a single example? Just one?

To answer Scott's reply that came in while I typed the above: if Paul
feels that he should, 24 years AFTER writing a how-to guide that makes
no mention whatsoever of "branding" a pose (one that in many animals
is not feasible anyways) retroactively wants to ban other from using
it, then I can only say: that train has left, sorry. If you want to
brand something, do it. At least, when publishing a guide on how to
re-do your work, put a note in. Don't come running a quarter of a
century later, after your 401k failed or a recession hit or whatever,
and rant angrily.

Heinrich Mallison

On Fri, Mar 18, 2011 at 4:41 AM,  <GSP1954@aol.com> wrote:
> During the discussion I have noticed that some think that having multiple
> dinosaur restorers pose the skeletons they do the same way is a good idea
> scientific wise because it allows cross comparisons. This is incorrect for a
> number of technical reasons.
> It was a while back that the first skeleton/s using my pose started showing
> up. I don’t remember who did them, but I do recall become immediately
> nervous in terms of the scientific implications.
> Say a particular artist – let’s call her Susan Erickson -- decides to pose
> all her skeletons the same way. That makes sense in that because she –
> assuming she is good at her job -- is using consistent criteria to restore the
> skeletons, they are truly cross comparable.
> At first it might seem that if other artists use the same pose they too
> will be cross comparable with Susan’s, but they are not.
> That’s because human brains are not consistently produced information
> processors, so each brain puts out different results. This is true even if all
> those generating skeletons are equally qualifed at the craft. Each skeletal
> restorer is going to have somewhat different hypotheses and notions about how
> to assemble skeletons, and a degree of less deliberate variation between
> artists will also creep in.
> So skeletons prepared by different artists are not actually comparable,
> even if in the same pose and equivalent in quality. In fact, their being in 
> the
> same pose is a problem because it leads to the illusion of false
> comparability. Ergo, having different artists pose their skeletons in the 
> same manner
> is not scientific and is misleading.
> You can sometimes see this effect in cladograms when skeletons by different
> artists are used to illustrate different clades. Even when they are in the
> same pose they don’t really look comparable – at least to the trained eye.
> It just does not look quite right, the images come across as inconsistent.
> Using skeletons by different artists in a single figure is only a means of
> letting those who may not be familiar with the field have an idea of what the
> fossil verts look/ed like.
> The situation becomes worse when the quality of the skeletons varies. Let’s
> say that the skeletons of that Greg Paul fellow are not all that great –
> causing some to wonder why he doesn’t get out of the business and farm corn in
> Indiana for heavens sake. In that case there is no point of comparing them
> to the ace work of Susan Erickson. Doing so has no useful meaning.
> An analogy. I assemble lots of 1/48 scale WW II fighter models. In theory
> this makes kits from a wide variety of producers comparable, right? It should
> be that way, but alas it is not. That is because the manufacturers are
> surprisingly inconsistent in accuracy. In part this is because some companies
> are not as good as others. But even the top of the lines outlets sometimes
> muck up. For example, for decades none of the top producers came out with the
> Spitfire 9, widely considered the acme of Spitfires - odd no one did the mark
> well before. Anyhow, at long last Hasegawa announced the upcoming kit and
> songs of praise were heard. Then the kits reviews came out and there was much
> wailing and gnashing of teeth, and venomous diatribe directed at Hasegawa
> that they well deserved. They had botched the kit, and images showing how
> badly out of proportion the fuselage was by comparing them to more accurate
> kits were posted. The point here is that for items to be truly comparable they
> have to be consistently produced in methodology and accuracy, and basically
> from the same source.
> So give up all ye when it comes to presuming that different workers’ dinosau
> r skeletons are cross-comparable. If someone wants to use a bunch of truly
> comparable skeletons in a publication best to get them form one source.
> Note the above applies to any effort by one or more artist to mimic the
> iconic pose used by another artist, such as side view life restorations.
> As I posted earlier, artists regularly using the same pose used by others
> is not a good idea for other reasons. Less well done efforts can impair the
> reputation of the person who has built a body of high quality work based on
> that pose. And it is a career mistake for a paleoartist to miss building up
> their own distinctive brand by patterning their images after someone else’s.
> Some have claimed my standard pose is not a de facto brand because it is
> supposedly  based on Bakker’s running Deinonychus. I have explained elsewhere
> that is not really so. In any case RTB never used the pose on a regular
> basis, so it was not a characteristic of his work (and the reason the
> Deinonychus became well known was not because he made it so, but because he 
> was
> endlessly ripped off as it was reproduced without permission). Only if someone
> uses a pose so regularly that it becomes a recognizable brand, and others then
> also use it regularly is there an issue. Bakker posed his dinosaurs’ legs
> lots of ways. If I had settled on a pose that happened to be similar to
> another limb position RTB happened use then would I being derivative? How 
> about a
> Zallinger pose? Of course not. Derivation occurs only when someone uses a
> certain pose again and again that was previously widely recognized of being
> commonly used by another artist (see my parallel post on the Knight analogy).
> G Paul
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