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Identifying Fossils

Post of the Month: February 2006


Subject:    Re: The Dinosaur Myth
Date:       13 February 2006

Gerard wrote:
> Richard Forrest wrote:
> > By the way, I can produce high-resolution X-Rays of this specimen, and
> > I shall take it as a personal insult if you assert that it is a
> > forgery, or that I know my rather narrow field of specialisation so
> > poorly that I can't tell a plesiosaur from a crocodile.
> >
> I did say there were many water creatures, and fish that were
> fossilized, and this example was a pretty decent sized water creature.

It's a plesiosaur. I can quite categorically identify it as such.If you have any reason to think that it is not a plesiosaur, please provide your evidence and argument, rather than making vague and generalised assertions.

Furthermore, I think that it's a relatively juvenile individual of a plesiosaur family called the Rhomaleosauridae. If you have any reason to think that my diagnosis is incorrect, please provide your evidence and argument, rather than making vague and generalised assertions.

> I have no problem with their existence,

Yes you do, because you have stated that in identifying bones as dinosaurs, palaentolgists and zoologists are so incompetent that they don't realise that all they are looking at is a crocodile.

> I have a problem with what
> their exterior features were,

So do I. Soft tissue is rarely preserved, and you will find very, very few categorical statements about soft tissue anatomy from vertebrate palaeontologists. When they do so, they do so with reservations and with detailed supporting argument and evidence.

> the timeperiod attributed to their
> existence,

What problems do you have with the dating of this specimen to the lowermost Jurassic? The dating is based on radiometric dating, correlation of zone fossils and to some extent on the presence of Milankovitch cycles in the sedimentary structure in which it is found. You have demonstrated an appalling ignorance of radiometric dating methods, I doubt that you have even heard of zone fossils and astronomical cycles.

Don't you think that the assertion that all those astronomers, physicists, geologists and palaentologists are either utterly incompent, or else engaged in a vast conspiracy to deceive the public is deeply insulting?

> and the various classifications to species

So, I identify this as a plesiosaur based on
1) The gross morphology. No other clade has extended necks and four paddles highly adapted to underwater flight.
2) The presence of subcentral foraminae. They are clear on the X-Rays
3) The presence of an inner alveolar groove.

I identify it tentatively as a rhomaleosaurid on the basis of
1) The relative proportions of the skull and body.
2) The presence of 28 cervical vertebrae
3) The morphology of the propodials
4) The morphology of the pre- and postzygapophyses
5) The robustness of certain skull elements.

If you have some reason to doubt my diagnosis, please present the evidence and argument which supports that diagnosis. If you can't please withdraw the asserton that I am either incompetent of dishonest.

> which were dominant in a mythical period.

What is mythical about the Lower Lias? Please explain why this formation, which has been studied extensively for longer than any other geological formation anywhere else on earth is "mythical". Are you asserting that generations of geologists, some of them devout Christians and in modern terms creationists such as Buckland, Conybeare and de la Beche were embarking on a deliberate attempt to undermine a fundamentalist movement which didn't even exist in their day?

> It's a stretch.

How do you know? You have no idea whatsoever of the evidence on which the dating for the lias is based, yet feel confident enough in your utter ignorance to dismiss the finding of centuries of honest and dedicated scientists.

Do you not realise how arrogant, ignorant and dishonest this makes you?

> They don't have to this
> far to try and validate their proposterous natural evolution over time
> theory(which was founded on a godless premise combined with the very
> need for lengthy timeperiods, because there is no change observed
> today).

Please identify from the works of William Buckland passages in which it is clear that he was embarked on a godless campaign? He was opposed to evolutionary theory, but accepted that the earth was ancient. Unlike you, however, he knew what that evidence is, and had the honesty to accept the findings of science.

> It's not that certain lizards or reptiles didn't exist,

Yes it is, because lizards are reptiles, and they exist.

> it's the way they are conveniently placed together in a scenario which works
> for their agenda, a godless one.

This is a footnote from de la Beche and Conybeare 1821, the first description of a plesiosaur: "When alluding to the regular gradation, and, as it were, the linked and concatenated series of animal forms, we would wish carefully to guard against the absurd and extravagant application which has sometimes been made of this notion. In the original formation of animated beings, the plan evidently to be traced throughout is this. That every place capable of supporting animal life should be so filled, and that every possible mode of sustenance should be taken advantage of; hence every possible variety of structure became necessary, many of them such as to involve a total change of parts, but others again, such as required nothing beyond a modification of similar parts, slight indeed in external appearance, yet important in subserving the peculiar habits and economy of the different animals; in these cases the unity of general design was preserved, while the requisite peculiarity of organisation was superinduced; nor can there be anywhere found a more striking proof of the infinite riches of creative design, or of the infinite wisdom which guided their application. Some physiologists however (and Lamarck is more especially censurable on this account) have most ridiculously imagined that the links hence arising represent real transitions from one branch to another of the animal kingdom; that through a series of such links, and by means of the constant tendency of the vital fluids, urged by animal appetencies to perfect old organs and develop new ones, that which was once a polypus became successively a mollusca, a fish, a quadruped; an idea so monstrous, and so completely at variance with the structure of the peculiar organs considered in the detail (which is in the great majority of instances such that no conceivable appetency could have any conceivable tendency to produce it) and no less so with the evident permanency of all animal forms, that nothing less than the credulity of a material philosophy could have been brought for a single moment to entertain it-nothing less than its bigotry to defend it."

Does this sound like the words of someone who is pro-evolution and godless?

So, either retract your assertions that scientists are ignorant or dishonest, or else come up with some evidence to support that assertion.

What the hell gives you the right or authority to denigrate the honest work of generations of researchers for no other reason than that it fails to conform to your predjudices? It is insulting, arrogant and utterly dishonest.

So put up or shut up.

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