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Re: Microraptor ate birds
Hardly seems unreasonable to discuss a poster presentation from a
meeting. If there's more to be released in the future, that's all well
On Fri, Nov 11, 2011 at 11:45 AM, Jaime Headden <email@example.com> wrote:
> You know what I find funny? We're having a debate about a conclusion
> released on the basis of a news report from an "extended abstract" presented
> as a poster at SVP _last week_. We're not discussing a paper, with a series
> of conclusions drawn from applied analyses with oodles and oodles of
> tabulated data from which to pour over. No. We're doing this based on a news
> report and somehow making claims that the evidence is not suitable for the
> conclusion. If you want the data, "wait for the paper."
> Jaime A. Headden
> The Bite Stuff (site v2)
> "Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969)
> "Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a
> different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race
> has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or
> his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion
>> Date: Fri, 11 Nov 2011 16:40:20 +0000
>> From: firstname.lastname@example.org
>> To: email@example.com
>> Subject: Re: Microraptor ate birds
>> > From: Robert Schenck <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>> >>>It's definitely intriguing, and IF microraptor et al were arboreal, it is
>> >>>what we'd
>> >>> expect.
>> >>The hypothesis is not well-thought out, and not based on any modern
>> >>comparisons (hence, I predict it will be published in Nature, or ProcB).
>> >Should we really expect there to be good comparisons though? I'll
>> agree that the lack of modern analogs isn't meaningless, but how much
>> weight should we give it?
>> I don't think it would be beyond reason to do a little survey of extant
>> predators that eat "arboreal" birds, and see just how regularly said birds
>> are caught in trees as opposed to on the ground. This wasn't done, merely an
>> assumption was made (not the least, the assumption of arboreality on the
>> prey's behalf). I understand this is a poster, not a peer-reviewed paper;
>> these sorts of conclusions shouldn't make it into print without a proper
>> assessment of the data, but frequently we see misinformation making it
>> through. The original Microraptor gui description had a reconstruction of a
>> splayed-limb glider -at odds with known anatomy of dinosaurs; indeed the
>> upright unsplaying hindlimb is one of THE dinosaurian features emphasized in
>> the most basic undergraduate classes on dinosaurs; I can;t understand how
>> this was missed by both researchers and reviewers alike. This poster is
>> further illustrative of the glider-first argument being based on poor
>> purely hypothetical models, and weak knowledge of anatomy and ecology, that
>> somehow gets into big journals.
>> >Anyway I'll agree that the positive evidence for arboreality in
>> Mesozoic dinosaurs doesn't seem to be out there, but if they were
>> arboreal predators, then, yes, preying on other arboreal species could
>> make sense.
>> Make sense? part of this thread suggested trees were some sort of refugium
>> from predation, now apparently the opposite makes sense. This is where
>> surveying the extant ecological literature makes more sense.
>> >> It's not behaviour: it's diet. For all we know, the Microraptor might
>> >> have found a dead bird on the ground.
>> >Absolutely, could've come from the ground. It's still behaviour of
>> course, my point is that its something other than osteology, which is
>> allways nice.
>> Yes, it's paleobiological data. Evidence of some trophic interaction. This
>> part is very interesting. I like the point made by someone else that it is
>> little different from finding fish remains in confusciusiornithids: does
>> this mean they were waterbirds that always eat fish? what is the variability
>> in diet of carnivorous birds anyway? Do they eat the same food all the time,
>> caught the same way, or a variety of different prey types, caught different
>> ways and places? what is the difference between catching prey and killing
>> prey? Does the bald eagle only eat fish? What does a cosmopolitan diet mean?
>> None of this is addressed; just leaping to conclusions about arboreality
>> without trying to test a hypothesis, or even survey possible corroborating
>> Denver Fowler
Robert J. Schenck
Kingsborough Community College
Physical Sciences Department
S332 ph# 718-368-5792
Follow Me on Twitter: @Schenck
KCC Class Schedule on Google Calendar: http://tinyurl.com/mqwlcy