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From: Steve Rudd
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2000 10:34:42 -0500
To: Andrew Arensburger
Subject: Re: Patton Quotes 

>: innumerable transitional forms must have existed, why do we not find
>: them embedded in countless numbers in the crust of the earth?
> > [Omitted at author's request]
>I re-quote:
>: It will be much more convenient to discuss this question in the
>: chapter on the Imperfection of the geological record;

>To summarize the answer: fossilization is a very rare event.

[Omitted at author's request. Then he quotes:]

STEPHEN J. GOULD, HARVARD, "The Cambrian Explosion occurred in a geological 
moment, and we have reason to think that all major anatomical designs may 
have made their evolutionary appearance at that time. ...not only the 
phylum Chordata itself, but also all its major divisions, arose within the 
Cambrian Explosion. So much for chordate uniqueness... Contrary to Darwin's 
expectation that new data would reveal gradualistic continuity with slow 
and steady expansion, all major discoveries of the past century have only 
heightened the massiveness and geological abruptness of this formative 
event..." Nature, Vol.377, 26 10/95, p.682

MORE EMBARRASSING, David M. Raup, U. Chicago; Ch. F. Mus. of N. H., "The 
evidence we find in the geologic record is not nearly as compatible with 
darwinian natural selection as we would like it to be. Darwin was 
completely aware of this. He was embarrassed by the fossil record because 
it didn't look the way he predicted it would.... Well, we are now about 120 
years after Darwin and the knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly 
expanded. We now have a quarter of a million fossil species but the 
situation hasn't changed much. ....ironically, we have even fewer examples 
of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin's time. By this I mean 
that some of the classic cases of darwinian change in the fossil record, 
such as the evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be 
discarded or modified as the result of more detailed information." 
F.M.O.N.H.B., Vol.50, p.35

PREDICTION FAILED, Niles Eldridge, Amer. Mus. N. H., "He [Darwin] 
prophesied that future generations of paleontologists would fill in these 
gaps by diligent search.... One hundred and twenty years of paleontological 
research later, it has become abundantly clear that the fossil record will 
not confirm this part of Darwin's predictions. Nor is the problem a 
miserably poor record. The fossil record simply shows that this prediction 
was wrong." The Myths of Human Evolution, p.45-46

[Omitted at author's request]

> > [Omitted at author's request]
>         Which fraud are you talking about? I searched, but
>couldn't find this story.

[Omitted at author's request. Then he quotes:]

1 November 1999


Dr. Peter Raven, Secretary
Committee for Research and Exploration
National Geographic Society
Washington, DC 20036

Dear Peter,

I thought that I should address to you the concerns expressed below because 
your committee is at least partly involved and because you are certainly 
now the most prominent scientist at the National Geographic Society.

With the publication of "Feathers for T. rex?" by Christopher P. Sloan in 
its November issue, National Geographic has reached an all-time low for 
engaging in sensationalistic, unsubstantiated, tabloid journalism. But at 
the same time the magazine may now claim to have taken its place in formal 
taxonomic literature.

Although it is possible that Mr. Czerkas "will later name" the specimen 
identified on page 100 as Archaeoraptor liaoningensis, there is no longer 
any need for him to do so.

Because this Latinized binomial has apparently not been published 
previously and has now appeared with a full-spread photograph of the 
specimen "accompanied by a description or definition that states in words 
characters that are purported to differentiate the taxon," the name 
Archaeoraptor liaoningensis Sloan is now available for purposes of 
zoological nomenclature as of its appearance in National Geographic 
(International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, Article 13a, i). This is 
the worst nightmare of many zoologists---that their chance to name a new 
organism will be inadvertently scooped by some witless journalist. Clearly, 
National Geographic is not receiving competent consultation in certain 
scientific matters.

Sloan's article explicitly states that the specimen in question is known to 
have been illegally exported and that "the Czerkases now plan to return it 
to China." In Washington, in June of 1996, more than forty participants at 
the 4th International Meeting of the Society of Avian Paleontology and 
Evolution, held at the Smithsonian Institution, were signatories to a 
letter to the Director of the Chinese Academy of Sciences that deplored the 
illegal trade in fossils from China and encouraged the Chinese government 
to take further action to curb this exploitation.

There were a few fossil dealers at that meeting and they certainly got the 
message. Thus, at least since mid-1996 it can hardly have been a secret to 
anyone in the scientific community or the commercial fossil business that 
fossils from Liaoning offered for sale outside of China are contraband.

Most, if not all, major natural history museums in the United States have 
policies in effect that prohibit their staff from accepting any specimens 
that were not legally collected and exported from the country of origin. 
The National Geographic Society has not only supported research on such 
material, but has sensationalized, and is now exhibiting, an admittedly 
illicit specimen that would have been morally, administratively, and 
perhaps legally, off-limits to researchers in reputable scientific 

Prior to the publication of the article "Dinosaurs Take Wing" in the July 
1998 National Geographic, Lou Mazzatenta, the photographer for Sloan's 
article, invited me to the National Geographic Society to review his 
photographs of Chinese fossils and to comment on the slant being given to 
the story. At that time, I tried to interject the fact that strongly 
supported alternative viewpoints existed to what National Geographic 
intended to present, but it eventually became clear to me that National 
Geographic was not interested in anything other than the prevailing dogma 
that birds evolved from dinosaurs.

Sloan's article takes the prejudice to an entirely new level and consists 
in large part of unverifiable or undocumented information that "makes" the 
news rather than reporting it. His bald statement that "we can now say that 
birds are theropods just as confidently as we say that humans are mammals" 
is not even suggested as reflecting the views of a particular scientist or 
group of scientists, so that it figures as little more than editorial 
propagandizing. This melodramatic assertion had already been disproven by 
recent studies of embryology and comparative morphology, which, of course, 
are never mentioned.

More importantly, however, none of the structures illustrated in Sloan's 
article that are claimed to be feathers have actually been proven to be 
feathers. Saying that they are is little more than wishful thinking that 
has been presented as fact. The statement on page 103 that "hollow, 
hairlike structures characterize protofeathers" is nonsense considering 
that protofeathers exist only as a theoretical construct, so that the 
internal structure of one is even more hypothetical.

The hype about feathered dinosaurs in the exhibit currently on display at 
the National Geographic Society is even worse, and makes the spurious claim 
that there is strong evidence that a wide variety of carnivorous dinosaurs 
had feathers. A model of the undisputed dinosaur Deinonychus and 
illustrations of baby tyrannosaurs are shown clad in feathers, all of which 
is simply imaginary and has no place outside of science fiction.

The idea of feathered dinosaurs and the theropod origin of birds is being 
actively promulgated by a cadre of zealous scientists acting in concert 
with certain editors at Nature and National Geographic who themselves have 
become outspoken and highly biased proselytizers of the faith. Truth and 
careful scientific weighing of evidence have been among the first 
casualties in their program, which is now fast becoming one of the grander 
scientific hoaxes of our age---the paleontological equivalent of cold 
fusion. If Sloan's article is not the crescendo of this fantasia, it is 
difficult to imagine to what heights it can next be taken. But it is 
certain that when the folly has run its course and has been fully exposed, 
National Geographic will unfortunately play a prominent but unenviable role 
in the book that summarizes the whole sorry episode.


Storrs L. Olson
Curator of Birds
National Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian Institution
Washington, DC 20560

>         So with that in mind, I'm pretty sure that a male Great Dane
>cannot have sex with a female Chihuahua, simply because of size
>differences. Even if they did, the puppies would probably die in the
>womb, or kill the mother (again, just because of size). If so, does
>that mean that great danes and chihuahuas are of different kinds?

[Omitted at author's request]
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