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Re: Notes on scientifically comparative paleoposes

There are factors, other than just interpretation, that play into why reconstructions by different artists and scientists sometimes differ. For example, they might be looking at different specimens. There are a great many complete dinosaur skeletal restorations out there and most of them are not based on a complete specimen. There is critical scientific information missing, or rather not stated, for these restorations. It would be helpful and instructive if a skeletal restoration indicate which parts of a skeletal restoration are based on 1) the holotype, 2) referred specimens from the same quarry, 3) referred specimens from other localities, 4) extrapolated from individuals of the same taxa but different ontogenetic stages (i.e. are juveniles parts scaled up for an adult), 5) inferred (missing segments of a mostly complete tail for example), and 6) parts restored from other taxa. There are probably others as well. Yes, this would make a caption long but it could be included in an appendix and would greatly help in assessing the reconstruction. It would be unacceptable for a paleontologist to publish a paper in which he or she illustrated or figured bones without indicating their specimen numbers, especially when multiple individuals are known for that taxon. Why should it be any different for scientific skeletal restorations. Maybe this could be adopted as a convention by serious artists.


On 3/18/2011 9:44 AM, Augusto Haro wrote:
Regarding comparability, and accepting a scientific content of
restoration, suggesting the same methodology should only be used by a
single person looks as saying that one kind of experiment should only
be accomplished by a single scientist. Moreover, it can also imply all
the logical reasoning in science may have to be done by a single
person, because there are differences in the way people think and are
there not just one logic (we know the Aristotelian, but there are
others, which begin with different axioms). Of course this is
materially impossible, in adition to being ellitistic. If restorations
are science, they should be repeateable by different persons and there
should be a clearly stated schedule of how to perform them. For
science is a collective enterprise. If there are subconscient wrong
idea, or preferences not based on fact, in restoration science, this
may be criticized as were the various biases which entered science.