Thursday, December 11, 2014


December 6, 2014
10:17 am: I am back to adding characters from Carr (1999); it feels like ages since I last worked on the manuscript, but it’s only been since Tuesday. When I work on a manuscript I keep music off and all other distractions away.
I’ve reached the section in Carr (1999) where I set out the evidence that the Cleveland skull conforms to the morphotype of a small Stage 1 Albertosaurus libratus; i.e., it is a juvenile and not a small adult. This is the sort of use that I had hoped that tyrannosaurid workers make of this work, for distinguishing phylogenetically informative variation from the strong overprint of ontogenetic pattern. Since that time the scientific literature has shown that it has been largely cited for other purposes.
Today my task is to identify features in Jane that are transitional between the Cleveland skull and adult T. rex, which serves as a test of the hypothesis of ontogenetic transition that I proposed for A. libratus in particular and Tyrannosauridae in general.
11:33: I’m making good strides through the article, I started at the premaxilla and now I’m at the postorbital!
12:17: I am done with Carr (1999)! Next up are two articles of Larson (2008, 2013); these amateur works can't be avoided since they're in an edited volume of scientific articles and they are squarely critical of my published work. Time for lunch; 566 pages reached.
5:04: Starting in on Larson (2008), with the goal of putting his purported “Nanotyrannus” characters into the comparative context of the ontogenetic changes that are seen in A. libratus, and between the Cleveland skull and adult T. rex (Carr, 1999).
5:23: Good grief - his assessment of my first article (“thoughtful and compelling”) and breezy dismissal of my subsequent works on T. rex ontogeny (“...the growth series argument of Carr…is in question”) makes my head swim (Larson, 2008:110). He does not bring evidence against the growth stages I proposed for tyrannosaurids; instead, he just ignores the hypothesis because someone else says it’s O.K. to do so (Larson, 2008:110). It makes me wonder at the editorial standards that were at work here; oh, right – Larson was one of the editors.
It’s time to put this down and return to it tomorrow. I don’t want to lose patience and become dismissive; that would be unprofessional.
References cited
Carr, T. D.  1999.  Craniofacial ontogeny in Tyrannosauridae (Dinosauria, Theropoda). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 19: 497-520.

Larson, P. 2008. Variation and sexual dimorphism in Tyrannosaurus rex; pp. 102-128 in
P. Larson, and K. Carpenter (eds.) Tyrannosaurus rex, the Tyrant King. Indiana University Press, Bloomington.

Larson, P. 2013. The case for Nanotyrannus; pp. 14-53 in J. Michael Parrish Ralph E. Molnar, Philip Currie, and Eva B. Koppelhus (eds.) Tyrannosaurid Paleobiology. Indiana University Press, Bloomington.

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