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Perhaps the most unusual paper I've ever been a part of



http://www.evolution-outreach.com/content/8/1/17

Plotnick, R.E., J.M. Theodor & Thomas R. Holtz. 2015. Jurassic Pork: What Could a Jewish Time Traveler Eat? volution: Education and Outreach 2015, 8:17 doi:10.1186/s12052-015-0047-2

Abstract
Paleontologists use multiple methods to reconstruct the anatomy and behavior of extinct animals, including direct observations from well-preserved fossils and inferences from the phylogeny of modern and extinct relatives. We illustrate these techniques by reference to the biblical definitions of kosher and non-kosher animals; that is, how can we apply these approaches to the hypothetical question of whether an extinct form would have been kosher. The biblical categories do not readily map to modern understandings of systematics, but are heavily based on life mode. When given, distinguishing characteristics, such as the presence of fins and scales in aquatic animals, can be readily seen directly in fossils. In other cases, such as cud chewing, they need to be inferred from the phylogenetic relationships of the fossil forms. Dinosaurs (other than birds), unfortunately, are not kosher. A kosher “paleo diet” would be increasingly difficult further in the past. The use of biblical content as a way of introducing concepts from paleontology and evolutionary biology, such as crown groups and stem groups, should be of broad interest.




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Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Email: tholtz@umd.edu   Phone: 301-405-4084
Geology Office: Geology 4106
Scholars Office: Centreville 1216
Senior Lecturer, Vertebrate Paleontology
Dept. of Geology, University of Maryland
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholtz/
Fax: 301-314-9661

Faculty Director, Science & Global Change Program, College Park Scholars
http://www.geol.umd.edu/sgc
Fax: 301-314-9843

Mailing Address:        Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                        Department of Geology
                        Building 237, Room 1117
                        University of Maryland
                        College Park, MD 20742 USA