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RE: Caudipteryx suffered from osteoarthritis
1. There is a philosophical argument the authors make that has nothing to do
with the purpose of their paper. It colors their conclusions, and it colors
comments they make such as qualifying their terminology, but that is not the
same thing. That they, in other papers, say "bird" to mean something that
mainstream phylogenetic hypotheses do not mean, or is more inclusive than the
content argued by those hypotheses, doesn't matter. They can scale the inexact
and horribly problematic use of the lay term to avoid using clade names and
such to their hearts' content, because it doesn't actual impact the main point
of their paper, which is recovery of osteoarthritis in an animal which they
consider to be a bird. Just like when a scientist decides to use a term for an
animal which other people dsagree with, it doesn't mean the paper have fallen
through review when it comes out in this condition.
I also tried to address this before by noting that these authors are "the
opponents" and as such have something akin to a "right" in getting a
contradictory paper through. Lately, these papers have been on alternate
subjects (paleopathology, skin preservation, new enantirornithines) with minor
commentary on the evolution or distribution of said structures. What in the
latter elements of these papers should cause the entire things to fall out of
Also, not every journal actually reviews their papers, even if they are
"edited" by the journal, such as previous issues with the _New Mexico Museum of
Natural History Bulletin_ that raised such a ruckus on this list not that long
2. I never heard of anyone calling whales fish, or bats birds ... oh wait. I
kinda made a parallel on the remark in the post in which I mentioned penguins,
but Tom's oft-stated comment about bats being mammals is also just as apt. Some
people use the term "fish" and "bird" a little more loosely than you think,
either through cultural or linguistic plasticity or differences.
3. I actually did edit the statement; given the time I spent writing it,
slowly and carefully I tried to make sure _some_ of it was legible. I did not
need to add in a period in there absolutely to fix the grammar or phrasing for
clarity. Your "confusion" seems to stem entirely from the entire paragraph
being a single sentence, and so I get the feeling that, regardless of whether I
should have cut the sentence up into multiple, you will find wrong with it. I
could have placed periods within, and I am sure the "legibility" quality would
have been brought up. Will the same be true for this post? Time will tell!
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, 6 Jan 2012 18:22:20 +0100
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: Re: Caudipteryx suffered from osteoarthritis
> > It is not the reviewers' job to actually perform science for the
> > authors
> It is their -- unpaid -- job to make sure the science has either been
> performed or the manuscript is rejected.
> > , or be the one's to make sure the authors are performing science
> > when commenting on a philosophical nature about which of of what I
> > called "the golden line" a taxon is on. Whether the authors call
> > *Caudipteryx zoui* a bird is not, I think, up to scientific purview,
> Like Matt Martyniuk, you're misunderstanding this issue. Their concept
> of "bird" includes "not a dinosaur, and not descended from a dinosaur".
> _That_ is _not_ a purely nomenclatural issue, it's a phylogenetic and
> thus scientific one.
> BTW, I've never heard of penguins being considered "fish". Of course,
> they still look like birds, what with their beaks, feathers, theropod
> feet, lack of tail fin and all.
> > As for sentence length, I've seen longer. Some literature blokes seem
> > to enjoy trying to outdo one another in forming incredibly long
> > sentences. This one just turned out that way because I was using
> > perentheses and long dashes to break the sentence up.
> Not all sentences of such length are difficult to understand. But most
> are, and that one was. Stop trying to defend your lack of editing.
> Really. The first thing my thesis supervisor told me when I started
> writing scientific papers was, paraphrasing: "You _will_ be
> misunderstood -- by someone, somewhere, sometime --, so it's _your_
> responsibility to minimize the number of opportunities for