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RE: Caudipteryx suffered from osteoarthritis

  Rothschild is a respected osteo-pathologist and expert on diseases. His 
record in the vert paleo literature is pretty #1 in citations. So the remarks 
on regarding *Caudipteryx zoui* (sp. right?) with osteoarthritis seem right up 
his alley. Previously, Rothschild conspired with Darren Tanke and Tracy Ford to 
summarize pathology reports in some dinosaurs, focusing on stress and avulsion 
indications, and much of the record appears in Ralph Molnar's chapter in 
_Mesozoic Vertebrate Life_, and with 5 citations on the subject, the most cited 
individual on that list for paleopathology (and it concerns merely only 
nonavian theropod dinosaurs).

  So it's not so much that _it_ got through review, as much as certain comments 
made in the paper (I've not read it, so only dealing with the remarks made so 
far from the summary) appear to defy the general consensus. In which case, it's 
about having the critics of an idea get their own fair shake, even if it tends 
to the more aggrieved or aggravating in tone or structure, such as Olson's 
bellicose comments in a review.

  The authors have a theory, which has been in print since at least 2002 in 
Sylvia Czerkas' edited "journal" _Dinosaur Museum Journal_ (vol. 1 and none 
more so far forthcoming), that "birdy dinosaurs" are, in fact, birds, but not 
dinosaurs, a controversial view leveled in Czerkas & Xu (2002) -- in said 
"journal;" a theory Xu Xing does not agree with -- where *Archaeovolans 
repatriatus* (formerly the avian half of the faked "Archaeoraptor" specimen, 
which had been also referred to *Yanornis yandica* and was actually commented 
upon by the author(s)) is assessed in regards to the avian dromaeosaurids, 
troodontids, and probably oviraptorosaurs. Feduccia, Martin and Zheng now all 
run with this in their works, eschewing not avian affinities for "bird-like" 
dinosaurs, but dinosaurian affinities for them. It's a 180 in some cases, such 
as the arguments had in the early 1980s where *Deinonychus antirrhopus* was 
argued to be an avian ancestor [was not! ... probably was ... was not!], where 
the authors _agree_ with their former opponents by _accepting_ their arguments 
(down to the presence of real, honest to goodness feathers), only now shifting 
the problem stem-wards.

  It doesn't help, as Paul P's comments show, that there is a problematic view 
that there is a sacred and valuable thing in what we (using English, no less) 
call "bird," and that some sacred cows should never be slaughtered. Dinosaurs, 
the BANDits seem to argue, shall never, ever be ancestors to birds; the 
thinking, it seems, is there is a line where birds and reptiles do not cross, a 
fundamental, golden line, and now dromaeosaurs, formerly on one side, find 
themselves on the other, sundered from _their_ other kin.

  The presence of true pennaceous feathers appears to predate the *Oviraptor* + 
*Vultur* clade, which hasn't been named and seems a little more inclusive than 
*Maniraptora* by content, if not always. Pennaceous feathers may end up in 
*Therizinosauroidea*, *Alvarezsauria* and *Ornithomimosauria*. True pennaceous 
feathers may also be found in further outlying clades, such as 
*Tyrannosauroidea*, whatever the heck *Coelurus fragilis* belongs to, and basal 
"tyrannosauroids" like *Dilong paradoxus* (in such case where they may not be 
members of *Tyrannosauroidea*), as well as *Sinosauropteryx prima*. If so, I 
think Feduccia et al. will move the goalposts and pull these taxa over to the 
"bird" side of their golden line, thus moving the goalposts in the argument. It 
won't be pretty, because this is a sign of impending surrender, even if it's 
decades away, because this amounts to fortifying one's retreating position, for 
the sake of protecting their grace.


  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, 5 Jan 2012 20:01:33 -0500
> From: schenck.rob@gmail.com
> To: dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject: Re: Caudipteryx suffered from osteoarthritis
> How'd this get past review? The title is 'earliest recognition of
> arthritis in birds'. Practically no one consider's Caud. a bird, so
> that pretty well undercuts the 'significance' of the article.
> And if the reviewers/editors allowed that it was a debatable issue,
> then since Martin et al are in the EXTREME minority here, well
> shouldn't that have come up?
> On Wed, Jan 4, 2012 at 11:20 PM, Brad McFeeters
>  wrote:
> >
> > Has the sample size of *Caudipteryx* increased recently?  Sure, I'm aware 
> > that there are multiple individuals, but "large population samples" is news 
> > to me.
> > Also, what is the scientific significance of claiming the oldest documented 
> > case of osteoarthritis in the fossil record?  Is susceptibility to 
> > osteoarthritis a derived condition in amniotes?  Is there an observed lack 
> > of osteoarthritis in Triassic and Jurassic dinosaurs that is anomalous 
> > enough to deserve explanation?
> > ----------------------------------------
> >> Date: Wed, 4 Jan 2012 19:07:50 -0800
> >> From: bscreisler@yahoo.com
> >> To: dinosaur@usc.edu
> >> Subject: Caudipteryx suffered from osteoarthritis
> >>
> >> From: Ben Creisler
> >> bscreisler@yahoo.com
> >>
> >>
> >> A new online article (classifies Caudipteryx as a bird, however):
> >>  Bruce M. Rothschild, Zheng Xiaoting & Larry D. Martin (2012)
> >> Osteoarthritis in the early avian radiation: Earliest recognition of the 
> >> disease in birds.
> >> Cretaceous Research (advance online publication)
> >> doi:10.1016/j.cretres.2011.12.008
> >> http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195667111002084
> >>
> >> Abstract
> >> Osteoarthritis is extremely rare in wild mammal populations (less than 1%) 
> >> and varies in frequency according to species (0--25%) in recent birds, 
> >> where it is inversely related to size. Large population samples of Early 
> >> Cretaceous birds in China permit us to analyze its frequency in one of the 
> >> earliest avian radiations. In these samples, the larger bird (Caudipteryx) 
> >> shows a high frequency (30%). The earliest previous documentation of 
> >> primary osteoarthritis in any animal is in a family of Early Cretaceous 
> >> dinosaurs (Iguanodontidae). We document its occurrence in a basal bird and 
> >> in one of the forms considered by some to be a feathered dinosaur. These 
> >> occurrences are 20 million years older than the next oldest occurrence of 
> >> osteoarthritis.
> >
> --
> 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