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Re: Stegosaurus sexually dimorphic dermal plates

This looks like an interesting paper... but I find it practically unreadable. 
That's because it contains some *40* supplementary items that aren't 
included the PDF. In this case, there are 21 figures, 12 tables, 6 data 
sets, and a script. The problem is that many of these "supporting" 
items are referenced inline in the text. 

Imagine turning in a term paper that cited figures, tables, and data 
that weren't there, forcing the instructor to go look for them.  
If a figure is important enough to include, then include it. If not, then 
don't reference it. This seems like common sense. If it's something 
that the author or editor thinks most people aren't going to want to 
look at, e.g. a character matrix or detailed state descriptions, then 
it can go at the end in an appendix. (anyone who's actually going to 
read and understand a paper *will* want to look at that stuff.)

I realize that certain things, e.g. computer scripts, can't be included 
in a PDF, or don't make sense there. But why should people have to 
download a paper in 40 separate parts..?  It's absurd.  Sure I can 
download all the pieces and combine them into a single file using 
Acrobat, or print them all and staple them together (this little paper 
would become 60+ pages by doing that).  But if something is 
relevant and important, why isn't it already in the PDF?

This seems to be, at least in part, an issue of quantity vs. quality. 
The old way was for the author, and to some degree the editor, to 
distill a project into a nice, tight little paper (in-house monographs 
notwithstanding). Now apparently it's the reader's job to take all the 
parts (S1 text, figures, tables, etc.), decide what's important, and 
then piece that together into something readable.

Is it just me, or do others too have difficulty reading a paper that 
constantly references figures that aren't present? 

    Paul P.

On Wed, 4/22/15, Ben Creisler <bcreisler@gmail.com> wrote:

 Subject: Stegosaurus sexually dimorphic dermal plates
 To: dinosaur@usc.edu
 Date: Wednesday, April 22, 2015, 1:12 PM
 Ben Creisler bcreisler@gmail.com
 New in PLoS ONE:
 Evan Thomas Saitta  (2015)
 Evidence for Sexual Dimorphism in the Plated Dinosaur Stegosaurus
 mjosi (Ornithischia, Stegosauria) from the Morrison Formation (Upper
 Jurassic) of Western USA. PLoS ONE 10(4): e0123503.
 Conclusive evidence for sexual dimorphism in non-avian dinosaurs has
 been elusive. Here it is shown that dimorphism in the shape of the
 dermal plates of Stegosaurus mjosi (Upper Jurassic, western USA) does
 not result from non-sex-related individual, interspecific, or
 ontogenetic variation and is most likely a sexually dimorphic feature.
 One morph possessed wide, oval plates 45% larger in surface area than
 the tall, narrow plates of the other morph. Intermediate morphologies
 are lacking as principal component analysis supports marked size- and
 shape-based dimorphism. In contrast, many non-sex-related individual
 variations are expected to show intermediate morphologies. Taphonomy
 of a new quarry in Montana (JRDI 5ES Quarry) shows that at least five
 individuals were buried in a single horizon and were not brought
 together by water or scavenger transportation. This new site
 demonstrates co-existence, and possibly suggests sociality, between
 two morphs that only show dimorphism in their plates. Without evidence
 for niche partitioning, it is unlikely that the two morphs represent
 different species. Histology of the new specimens in combination with
 studies on previous specimens indicates that both morphs occur in
 fully-grown individuals. Therefore, the dimorphism is not a result of
 ontogenetic change. Furthermore, the two morphs of plates do not
 simply come from different positions on the back of a single
 individual. Plates from all positions on the body can be classified as
 one of the two morphs, and previously discovered, isolated specimens
 possess only one morph of plates. Based on the seemingly
 display-oriented morphology of plates, female mate choice was likely
 the driving evolutionary mechanism rather than male-male competition.
 Dinosaur ornamentation possibly served similar functions to the
 ornamentation of modern species. Comparisons to ornamentation involved
 in sexual selection of extant species, such as the horns of bovids,
 may be appropriate in predicting the function of some dinosaur
 >From last December:
 Stegosaurus plates study