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Re: Feduccia on bird origins (again)

Problem is that most modern ornithologists have little osteological knowledge and are thus unable to independently evaluate the claims of people like Feduccia.

Feduccia also wrote "Origin and Evolution of Birds", which superficially at least, seems an authoritative book (just look at the toe-curlingly fulsome quote from Ernst Mayr on the backcover) and this helps to create the deceptive impression of an influential "authority figure" who deserves to be heard (no matter what). It is difficult for ornithological editors, without osteological or paleontological background, to see through the defects of Feduccia's thesis. Thus Feduccia gets away with it. It isn't peer-reviewed science for sure, but that's how it plays.

What his latest "paper" requires is a strong riposte from some dinosaurian paleontologists in the pages of AUK. Hopefully there are some takers?


Greg Davies

G.B.P. Davies
Curator of Birds
Ditsong National Museum of Natural History
(formerly Transvaal Museum)
P.O. Box 413
South Africa

Tel: 012-000-0040
Cell: 074-467-1635
Street address:
Cnr Paul Kruger & Visagie Streets
25.45'11"S: 28.11'21.6"E

----- Original Message ----- From: "Scott Hartman" <skeletaldrawing@gmail.com>
To: <DINOSAUR@usc.edu>
Cc: "Dino List" <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Thursday, February 14, 2013 3:22 AM
Subject: Re: Feduccia on bird origins (again)

If someone associated with the Auk wants to correct me that would be great,
but my understanding is that these "Perspectives" pieces are not
peer-reviewed, but instead are basically just editorials. Notice in the
acknowledgements there is no reference to any referees, only to like-inded
researchers for "assistance and critical reading". In other words, it's a
sham - it's more or less like writing an editorial for the WSJ or NYT, but
is formatted to look like peer-reviewed science.

That the Auk continues to participate in this charade (whether pretending
peer review or simply not even bothering) continues to demean all of the
other research published in their journal. And just so I'm clear, it
doesn't bother me in the slightest that they publish papers attacking the
dinosaur origin of birds (everything is fair game in science), it bothers
me that they continue to give audience to inferior works that don't even
attempt to read or address current literature and pawn such pieces off as

Scott Hartman
(608) 620-4030
website: www.skeletaldrawing.com
blog: http://skeletaldrawing.blogspot.com/