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Re: Theagarten Lingham-Soliar's The Vertebrate Integument Volume 2



I just grabbed a copy of Volume 2 (PDF) and while I have only glanced at it 
briefly, there is definitely some oddness about it. Lingham-Soliar spends a 
great deal of time talking about flight mechanics in vertebrates, which 
eventually links to integument, but only briefly in many places. Given my 
research interests, I read through the pterosaur section, first. I was 
flattered to find a lengthy treatment of Witton and Habib (2010), but a bit 
perplexed to find little discussion of the actual mechanics or data in the 
paper. Instead, Lingham-Soliar offers an odd form of rebuttal citing my 
interview on Mental Floss where I talked a bit about pigeon launching (to 
compare and contrast bird locomotion to our expectations for pterosaurs). He 
also includes an extended quote of David Peters’ comments at PLOS ONE. While 
free comments on journal sites are not necessarily a bad thing to note, it 
seems odd that the citations in this section, other than our paper itself, 
consisted of a new
 s feed and the equivalent of a blog. 

There is then a series of assertions about animal launch, free of citations, 
are simply demonstrably false. For example: 

"It is also clear that larger—and heavier—flyers invariably need a take-off run 
to build up the necessary speed. Given that Witton and Habib describe launching 
in ‘giant’ pterosaurs, rather oddly, they selectively choose pigeon jumping as 
an analogue but ignore the run-off needed by heavier birds (perhaps the largest 
bird that can take off from a jump without a run is the mallard duck).”

And also: 

"From the scaling laws applied to bird flight, large flying animals such as 
swans and vultures require long runways to become airborne.” (Granted, swans 
use runways, but vultures typically don’t, and it’s not related to size in any 
case). 

Obviously I’m picking on animal takeoff here because it’s something I work on 
extensively, but these seemed like strange errors and an odd pattern of 
“citation”. Fundamentally, I wasn’t clear on why any of it is in a book on 
integument. Maybe others here have thoughts or their own take.

Cheers,

—Mike H


> On Feb 18, 2015, at 12:19 PM, Jaime Headden <jaimeheadden@gmail.com> wrote:
> 
> Not to read too much into the format, but the progression of the
> conversation on "integument" seems to run from "birds as dinosaurs,"
> arguments about cladistics, discussing the journals in which these
> arguments are presented, discussion of fraud in said journals, and
> then Nat Geo. Far be it from me to imply that there's a thread, but
> it's been raised in TLS's papers in this way to all be related:
> 
> Birds as dinosaurs is a dogma that has been peddled in part by many
> mainstream journals, which apparently commit error in perpetrating
> this idea and not that of "lesser" ones (such as TLSs) nor for taking
> them seriously, forcing them to publish in Springer-led journals
> almost exclusively, or ornithological ones sympathetic to the
> "debate." They plug Nat Geo as a glamour mag responsible for starting
> everything, as if it were their fault at the outset (citing the
> "Archaeoraptor" problem) that the "birds as dinosaurs" camp have any
> footing.
> 
> Am I too far off?
> 
> On Wed, Feb 18, 2015 at 11:50 AM, Ben Creisler <bcreisler@gmail.com> wrote:
>> Ben Creisler
>> bcreisler@gmail.com
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> The first volume of Theagarten Lingham-Soliar's The Vertebrate
>> Integument  came out last year, but did not directly address the
>> dinosaur feather issue according to some reports. (I don't have the
>> entire contents.) Apparently the second volume does.
>> 
>> 
>> http://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-662-46005-4
>> 
>> 
>> I only have access to the two-page previews and the free pdf of the
>> table of contents, but such subdivision titles as these suggest the
>> tone:
>> 
>> 
>> 7.1 Freedom of Expression. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
>> . . . . . . . . . . . . . 295
>> 7.2 Peer Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
>> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 296
>> 7.3 The Birds are Dinosaurs Debate. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
>> . . . . . . . . . . . 300
>> 7.3.1 How Did We Sink so Low? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
>> . . . . . . 301
>> 7.3.2 Science and the Falsifiability Criterion . . . . . . . . . . . .
>> . . . . . 305
>> 7.3.3 Birds are Dinosaurs and Cladistics. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
>> . . . . . . 310
>> 7.3.4 “Prime Time” Journals: Does the Bite Match the Bark?. . . . 314
>> 7.4 COPE’s Proposals on Fraud in Science. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
>> . . . . . . . . 315
>> 7.4.1 Should the Status of the Institution or Individual Make
>> Fraud More Palatable?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
>> . . . . . 315
>> 7.5 National Geographic. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
>> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 322
> 
> 
> 
> -- 
> Jaime A. Headden
> The Bite Stuff: http://qilong.wordpress.com/
> 
> 
> "Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth" - P. B. Medawar (1969)