[Taxacom] middle ground approaches (in both paraphyly and the end-Cretaceous extinctions)

John Grehan calabar.john at gmail.com
Tue Aug 14 12:06:10 CDT 2018


The good thing is that regardless of classification, not everything went
extinct or we would not be here to talk about it :) Would any self
respecting dinosaur, living or extinct even bother?

John Grehan

On Tue, Aug 14, 2018 at 12:57 PM, Barry OConnor <bmoc at umich.edu> wrote:

> And of course, some dinosaurs did get through it. It's only the view
> from paraphyly that has "all dinosaurs went extinct". - Barry
>
> - So many mites, so little time!
>
> Barry M. OConnor
> Professor and Curator
> Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
> Museum of Zoology
> 1109 Geddes Ave.
> Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1079 USA
> phone: 734-763-4354
> FAX: 734-763-4080
> e-mail: bmoc at umich.edu
>
> > On Aug 13, 2018, at 8:29 PM, Kenneth Kinman <kinman at hotmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > Hi All,
> >
> >      As one who usually looks for a middle ground, I think this nasty
> feud was senseless.  The volcanic eruptions were massive and certainly
> would have had a severe impact on biodiversity.  But it would have been the
> asteroid impact that finished off the dinosaurs that remained (as well as
> other taxa).  If it weren't for this double whammy (massive volcanism
> followed by an enormous impact), some dinosaurs might have gotten through
> it.  But the one-two punch was just too much.  Such a middle ground view
> makes sense, and it would have avoided a senseless and nasty feud.
> >
> >                   --------------Ken
> >
> > P.S.  The current feud over formal paraphyletic taxa is also senseless.
> Instead of two extremes (the zero paraphyly of strict cladism vs. the old
> excessive use of paraphyly), a middle ground recognizing the most useful
> and least controversial paraphyletic taxa would be a perfect middle ground
> approach.
> >
> >
> > ________________________________
> > From: Taxacom <taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> on behalf of JF Mate
> <aphodiinaemate at gmail.com>
> > Sent: Saturday, August 11, 2018 1:05 PM
> > To: Taxacom
> > Subject: Re: [Taxacom] mass extinction how science works
> >
> > If only somebody had observed the impact live. Only way to be truly
> sure...
> >
> >> On Sat, 11 Aug 2018, 15:44 John Grehan, <calabar.john at gmail.com> wrote:
> >>
> >> For a little irony, biogeography is not the only field where opponents
> (as
> >> opposed to to the ideas which are fair game) are targeted. Below some
> quote
> >> from a recent article in
> >>
> >> https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/09/
> dinosaur-extinction-debate/565769/
> > [https://cdn.theatlantic.com/assets/media/img/2018/07/WEL_
> Bosker_Dinos/facebook.jpg?1532535665]<https://www.
> theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/09/dinosaur-
> extinction-debate/565769/>
> >
> > The Nastiest Feud in Science<https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/
> archive/2018/09/dinosaur-extinction-debate/565769/>
> > www.theatlantic.com
> > A Princeton geologist has endured decades of ridicule for arguing that
> the fifth extinction was caused not by an asteroid but by a series of
> colossal volcanic eruptions. But she’s reopened that debate.
> >
> >
> >
> >>
> >> For the record, I have long wondered about the intensity and
> consequences
> >> of any asteroid impact at the end of the Cretaceous given the
> biogeographic
> >> evidence for the massive amount of correlation between modern
> distributions
> >> and Mesozoic tectonics. If an asteroid hit were responsible for the mass
> >> extinctions it was not massive enough to obliterate the biological
> >> structure of the ecosystems within which the extant groups existed,
> >> particularly right next to the Chicxulub crater.
> >>
> >> John Grehan
> >>
> >> When Keller examined the El Kef samples, she did not see a “bad
> weekend,”
> >> but a bad era: Three hundred thousand years before Alvarez’s asteroid
> >> struck, some foram populations had already started to decline. Keller
> found
> >> that they had become less and less robust until, very rapidly, about a
> >> third of them vanished. “My takeaway was that you could not have a
> single
> >> instantaneous event causing this pattern,” she told me. “That was my
> >> message at that meeting, and it caused an enormous turmoil.” Keller said
> >> she barely got through her introduction before members of the audience
> tore
> >> into her: “Stupid.” “You don’t know what you’re doing.” “Totally wrong.”
> >> “Nonsense.”
> >>
> >> Ad hominem attacks had by then long characterized the mass-extinction
> >> controversy, which came to be known as the “dinosaur wars.” Alvarez had
> set
> >> the tone. His numerous scientific exploits—winning the Nobel Prize in
> >> Physics, flying alongside the crew that bombed Hiroshima, “X-raying”
> >> Egypt’s pyramids in search of secret chambers—had earned him renown far
> >> beyond academia, and he had wielded his star power to mock, malign, and
> >> discredit opponents who dared to contradict him. In *The **New York
> Times*,
> >> Alvarez branded one skeptic “not a very good scientist,” chided
> dissenters
> >> for “publishing scientific nonsense,” suggested ignoring another
> >> scientist’s work because of his “general incompetence,” and wrote off
> the
> >> entire discipline of paleontology when specialists protested that the
> >> fossil record contradicted his theory. “I don’t like to say bad things
> >> about paleontologists, but they’re really not very good scientists,”
> >> Alvarez
> >> told *The**Times*
> >> <
> >> https://www.nytimes.com/1988/01/19/science/the-debate-over-
> dinosaur-extinctions-takes-an-unusually-rancorous-turn.html
> >>> .
> >> “They’re more like stamp collectors.”
> >>
> >> The greatest area of consensus between the volcanists and the impacters
> >> seems to be on what insults to sling. Both sides accuse the other of
> >> ignoring data. Keller says that her pro-impact colleagues “will not
> listen
> >> or discuss evidence that is contrary to what they believe”; Alan
> >> Hildebrand, a prominent impacter, says Keller “doesn’t look at all the
> >> evidence.” Each side dismisses the other as unscientific: “It’s not
> >> science. It sometimes seems to border on religious fervor, basically,”
> says
> >> Keller, whose work Smit calls “barely scientific.” Both sides contend
> that
> >> the other is so stubborn, the debate will be resolved only when the
> >> opposition croaks. “You don’t convince the old people about a new idea.
> You
> >> wait for them to die,” jokes Courtillot, the volcanism advocate,
> >> paraphrasing Max Planck. Smit agrees: “You just have to let them get
> >> extinct.”
> >>
> >> All the squabbling raises a question: How will the public know when
> >> scientists have determined which scenario is right? It is tempting, but
> >> unreliable, to trust what appears to be the majority opinion. Forty-one
> >> co-authors signed on to a 2010 *Science* paper asserting that Chicxulub
> >> was, after all the evidence had been evaluated, conclusively to blame
> for
> >> the dinosaurs’ death. Case closed, *again*. Although some might consider
> >> this proof of consensus, dozens of geologists, paleontologists, and
> >> biologists wrote in to the journal
> >> <http://science.sciencemag.org/content/328/5981/973.1> contesting the
> >> paper’s methods and conclusions
> >> <
> >> https://www.geolsoc.org.uk/Geoscientist/Archive/May-2010/
> KT-Controversies-the-Science-letters
> >>> .
> >> Science is not done by vote.
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> >> Nurturing Nuance while Assaulting Ambiguity for 31 Some Years,
> 1987-2018.
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> Nurturing Nuance while Assaulting Ambiguity for 31 Some Years, 1987-2018.
>


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