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RE: Terra Nova: updates

  I was a little surprised on the subject of the character, largely because 
there seemed to be an authentic reaction in regards to this girl to her 
familials. Consider something about how she talks: She spoke with utter 
authority, but quickly and assertively. I've heard people speak this way, and 
it's not in a measured, droning litany. They've not said these things before, 
but it is said with surety and precision: they know what they are saying' is 
true, spoken with _reality_ backing it, but they've never said these words 
aloud. I get this impression every time I hear technical language being spoken 
by "fans," but whome are not used to the precision and care. You get it a lot 
in fresh medical dramas and from poor actors where the use of jargon is 
necessary to convey _gravitas_ on the subject. You get it from real people at 
conventions who don't speak that much to people of the same stripe. (The same 
type of acting was used in _Galaxy Quest_, with the fan kids. Just FYI.)

  You have a bona fide burgeoning scientist in this girl. I wonder if the 
person delivering the line means it, or whether she was coached to speaking it 
this way, I do not know, and it may merely be coincidental.

  On the nature of the "proto lateral incisor" statement: I think we should 
want to take the statement at face value, and wonder where the phrase comes 
from. Lateral incisors is a term used for mammals, while proto simply means 
"incipient." I wonder, then, if this refers to the face that brachiosaur teeth 
are spoon-shaped, but not quite incisiform, and she may be trying to consider 
the teeth are pointed (like piercing teeth) but have an herbivorous morphology 
otherwise, with a definitive incisiform-like structure. In this way, her 
allusion is that of a priercing, tearing tooth in an animal that shouldn't do 
that much oral processing (swallow and grind). Thus the teeth are becoming more 
incisiform, but are not quite there yet, in a transitory morphology; likewise, 
she is deliberately alluding to animals, such as the aforementioned deer, pigs 
or elephants, that dig up carcasses and consume portions of them [or the whole 
body!] when nutritiously deficient. In pigs and deer, as in camels, caniniform 
teeth are retained, even if rudimentary, and in some will be functionally 
useful in oral processing, although I am unaware of any such studies.

  Thus, "proto-lateral incisors" may be her understanding for a morphology 
useful for rendering fleshy remains or processing bone, whereas a typical 
herbivorous tooth has no such quality, usually being high-cusped and 
interlocking rather than preserving a crushing low-cusped form.


  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: Thu, 29 Sep 2011 08:11:38 +0000
> From: keenir@hotmail.com
> To: tholtz@umd.edu
> CC: dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject: RE: Terra Nova: updates
> > Date: Wed, 28 Sep 2011 21:13:24 -0400
> > From: tholtz@umd.edu
> > To: tholtz@umd.edu
> > CC: dinosaur@usc.edu
> > Subject: Re: Terra Nova: updates
> >
> > Addendum:
> > The brachiosaurs apparently have multiple rows of "proto-lateral incisors."
> followed by either "top and bottom" or "front and back"...by which I assume 
> she means the dental assembly line found in pretty much all toothed 
> dinosaurs, lizards & snakes, etc.