Archaeopterygid bird from China

John Grehan jgrehan at SCIENCEBUFF.ORG
Fri Apr 1 08:46:00 CST 2005


Dick said:

I see nothing unscientific about hypothesizing that the
> area of origin is near the older rather than the younger fossils.  It
is, after
> all, only a hypothesis.  We have to start somewhere and this provides
a
> starting point.

My question is why start with this premise in the first place? What is
the empirical evidence that there is any necessary relationship between
the location of the oldest fossil and a theorized restricted center of
origin?

> 
> Is it an empirical observation?  No; it's a hypothesis based on the
> information at hand.  

I would argue that the hypothesis is not based on the information at
hand. The information at hand is simply that the location of the oldest
fossil is the location of the oldest fossil.

There are two possibilities: the taxon had its
> origin
> in eastern Asia or it did not.  

There is another possibility, that the taxon had its origin
simultaneously in eastern Asia and Europe.

I am free to choose either as my working
> hypothesis - I can invoke parsimony to justify my hypothesis that the
> oldest
> fossils are near the area of origin; 

It might be parsimonious if one starts with the premise that there is a
necessary relationship between a fantasized center of origin and the
oldest fossil.

John




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