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Re: Notes on scientifically comparative paleoposes

In a message dated 3/18/11 6:43:22 AM, mike@indexdata.com writes:

<< 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.

This argument has some leg's but in the end does not work out. Here's the 
problem. It is relatively rare for skeletal restorations of the same taxon by 
more than one artist to appear in the same publication. So such direct 
comparisons, although not entirely useless, are not the highest priority. It is 
much more frequent for a single publication, even a single figure, to have a 
bunch of skeletons, each of a different taxon. If the intent is to be able 
to cross compare all the skeletons of different taxa within a publication or 
a given figure, then they need to be from one source. An example would be a 
paper on tyrannosaur taxonomy that compares the skeletons of many or all 
the species they are known for. Using my skeleton of T. rex and Scott's of T. 
bataar would be a bad idea. Better to use either his skeletons of the two 
beasties or mine of the two.  Because cross comparisons between taxa are much 
more common than cross comparisons between artists of the same taxon then it 
is best to avoid the false illusion of comparibility by having different 
artists use the same pose. 

And as I keep saying, one does not do their own career good by not coming 
up with a distincitive look. 

G Paul</HTML>