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Re: Australian dinosaur stampede "ornithopod" scenario challenged



They start to hint at it on p of the Manuscript (and maybe this is all
just because its an unfinished manuscript?), saying that Romilio &
Salisbury 'omitted to mention a number of facts" such as that the
track in question:
1. Runs against the 'stampede'
2. Is overlain by smaller tracks
3. Is 'messy', not crisp like the 'stampeders'.
4. Shows big changes in gait and direction, contra stampeders

Thulborn also notes that Romilio & Salisbury used a 'little used
method (devlp'd in 1988) uncritically' and that:
1. The method is too dependent on the footprints  being excellent,
basically, and even then only works on outlines, not depth, etc.
2. R&S made their measurements poorly in the first place.
3. The method is supposed to be, per Thulborn, supplementary, but R&S
present it as Primary
Basically, a big criticism here is that they're presenting a method
that is, per Thulborn, very sketchy and of limited use and
applicability, and just transfering it whole hock to the Lark Quarry
site, without going thru its limitations. My analogy of what Thulborn
describes is that its like presenting a set of instrumental
measurements, without including error bars, and then saying that the
data is discrete, when the points actually overlap.

Thulborn is also saying that R&S were excluding footprints for one
reason, but then including others that should've been excluded for the
same reason, AND that the 'improperly included' ones 'just happened'
to help out their identification.

On the accusation of fraud, Thulborn charges that there's no way R&S
could've gotten many of the measurements that they claim to have
obtained from different publications, because those publications don't
contain those measurements, and that R&S basically took one set of
incomplete sketches of the footprints and basically just connected the
ends to make it look like a complete footprint. And that was
particularly important because that allowed them to make measurements
that they could put into their method.

Thulborn cites his own work quite a bit in the critique, if R&S do
something, but Thulborn rejected that method or finding previously,
then he criticises R&S for 'doing something that is now rejected'.
That's always a tough statement to analyze, is Thulborn just getting
defensive, or is it just that he's the authority on this sort of stuff
so naturally his work as to be included?

Thulborn also charges against R&S, saying that they're calling the
track an ornithopod track, and that /therefore/ there was no stampede,
while Thulborn & Wade, who originally proposed the stampede, never
said it /had/ to be caused by a predatory dinosaur, and that they were
repeatedly explicit that the idea that stampede was caused by a
predatory dinosaur was highly speculative. So he's saying R&S are
grossly misrepresenting the very thing that they're challenging.

He also seems to think that R&S 'gussied up' their methods and
interpretations to make them sound more authoritative and 'sciencey',
using 'multivariate analysis' when they mean 'a couple of measurements
and their range'.

He also takes a swipe at GSP's Pred.Dino. of the World's
interpretation of the site.

Thulborn suggests why R&S are doing the things he accuses them of
doing, R is S's grad student, and if they don't make an 'interesting
finding', then the project and degree falls apart.

It sounds like there's a helluva history behind this story. I have to
wonder if R&S approached Thulborn previously to work on the site and
were told to shove off, or if Thulborn is pissed that they didn't
approach him, or who knows?


Also there's a reference to Monty Python's Ministry of Silly Walks. No
citation given though.....



On Tue, Nov 22, 2011 at 4:44 PM, Dann Pigdon <dannj@alphalink.com.au> wrote:
> On Wed, Nov 23rd, 2011 at 4:56 AM, Ben Creisler <bscreisler@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
>> Richard A. Thulborn (2011)
>> Lark Quarry revisited: a critique of methods used to identify a large 
>> dinosaurian track-maker in
>> the Winton Formation (Albian–Cenomanian), western Queensland, Australia.
>> Cretaceous Research (advance online publication)
>> doi:10.1016/j.cretres.2011.11.006
>> http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195667111001844
>>
>> Abstract
>> A remarkable assemblage of dinosaur tracks in the Winton Formation 
>> (Albian–Cenomanian) at
> Lark
>> Quarry, a site in western Queensland, Australia, has long been regarded as 
>> evidence of a
>> dinosaurian stampede. However, one recently published study has claimed that 
>> existing
>> interpretation of Lark Quarry is incorrect because the largest track-maker 
>> at the site was
>> misidentified and could not have played a pivotal role in precipitating a 
>> stampede. That recent
>> study has claimed that the largest track-maker was actually an ornithopod 
>> (bipedal plant-eating
>> dinosaur) similar or identical to Muttaburrasaurus and not, as originally 
>> supposed, a theropod
>> (predaceous dinosaur) resembling Allosaurus. Those iconoclastic claims are 
>> examined here and
> are
>> shown to be groundless: they are based partly on misconceptions and partly 
>> on fabricated data
>> which has been assessed uncritically using quantitative measures of 
>> questionable significance.
>> Such ill-founded claims do not
>>  reveal any substantial flaw in the existing interpretation of the Lark 
>> Quarry dinosaur tracks.
>
> Those last two sentences are extraordinarily worded, and would seem to border 
> on libel. They give
> the impression of an emotional response, rather than a scientific one. I'm 
> surprised that specific
> wording made it through peer-review.
>
> --
> _____________________________________________________________
>
> Dann Pigdon
> Spatial Data Analyst               Australian Dinosaurs
> Melbourne, Australia               http://home.alphalink.com.au/~dannj
> _____________________________________________________________
>
>



-- 
Robert J. Schenck
Kingsborough Community College
Physical Sciences Department
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