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Re: Notes on scientifically comparative paleoposes



On 18 March 2011 11:20, David Marjanovic <david.marjanovic@gmx.at> wrote:
>>  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.
>
> Like Heinrich, I see it the opposite way: if skeletal restorations are in
> the same pose, all differences between them must be due to different errors
> or different artistic styles -- they can't be unconsciously blamed on
> different poses and thus overlooked.

Quite.  One of the first things you learn as a scientist designing
experiments is to change only one variable at a time.  If you compare
(say) Greg's and Scott's Apatosaurus louisae reconstructions and both
are in the same pose, then you know that the differences you see are
between the two interpretations of the anatomy; whereas if you compare
Greg's Apato with someone else's in a completely different pose, the
the difference you see could be due to the different pose OR the
different artist.

I think Greg may have missed the point here, and thought we were
arguing for the use of different poses among a single artist's
reconstructions.  When we were of course saying the opposite.

> Do not underestimate how influential The Dinosaur Heresies has been. I
> learned a lot of English from that book -- it still hadn't been translated,
> but I _had_ to read it in the mid-1990s.
>
> Most skeletal restorations in that book are, BTW, in white on a black body
> silhouette.

Yes -- for example, the gorgeous (if optimistic) galloping Triceratops
on page 224:
http://www.miketaylor.org.uk/tmp/Bakker1986--Dinosaur-Heresies--p224--Triceratops.jpeg
and the Stegosaurus ungulatus on page 228:
http://www.miketaylor.org.uk/tmp/Bakker1986--Dinosaur-Heresies--p228--Stegosaurus-ungulatus.jpeg

>>  Bakker posed his dinosaurs’ legs lots of ways.
>
> True, but the one we're talking about is the one he used by far most
> commonly in The Dinosaur Heresies. (I don't have anything else by him on
> hand, but, again, that's an extremely influential book.)

Well, the Stegosaurus is running, pushing off from its left foot.  But
of course lots of the details of the pose are different from what I am
suddenly going to call Paul Normal Form, or PNF for short.