A recent TetZoo blog post by Darren Naish reported the colorizing of skull bones does not represent an application of DGS (digital graphic segregation), which I earlier posted. I think its the label that bothers him. Naish thought it was so important to remind others what a bad influence I am on our profession that he interrupted a discussion on ichthyosaurs with an illustration of Longisquama.
D. Naish wrote: “Claims [by Peters] that colour-coded images like those you seen (sic) in this article (and Fischer et al. 2014a, and Valentin’s other papers) represent application of DGS are an outright lie. DGS (or DGS-like) techniques are not used by working palaeontologists because it’s acknowledged in the real world that you can’t reliably identify structures by tracing their outlines on a computer screen. But do working palaeontologists colour-code bones to aid visual representation? Sure, all the time.”
to his example photo (ichthyosaur skull above, colorized skull below) reads, “No, David, no: this sort of thing is NOT the same as DGS. Skull of the ophthalmosaurine Leninia stellans from the Lower Albian of Russia (from Fischer et al. 2013b), labelled interpreted below. Again – this is NOT DGS.”
According to Naish
the difference between what I do and what the pros do is this (and I quote from the above): I “identify structures by tracing outlines on a computer screen” while the pros “color-code bones to aid visual representation.”
I’ll remind Naish
that the pros are also color-coding bones on screen, not with an airbrush and masking tape. And I also color-code bones, not just trace outlines. (See how Naish adds separation that really isn’t there?)
So, what’s the difference?
I can think of one other difference. Typically the working pro has the specimen in front of them. But that doesn’t stop them from taking a photograph and colorizing it, a technique that I fully support because the accuracy cannot be beat. A telephoto lens and some distance effectively gets rid of all perspective and key-stoning issues.
I sometimes put more effort into difficult fossils than others are do. See examples here and here. Other times I take what is given and simply expand the inclusion set to find a new nesting.
DGS is colorizing (or outlining) digital photographs on screen to aid visual representation. That the bones are identified in the process is an added bonus. This is a much better technique than simply using arrows to identify bones. Also better than using a prism and a pencil. Furthermore, these colors can then be digitally transferred to reconstructions to assure fit without fudging.
Evidently Naish supports others who colorize bones to share their findings, but he doesn’t like it when I do the same.
Is it because I sometimes make mistakes?
Reliability seems to be the cornerstone of his arguments. Sure I make mistakes, but some of what I trace is difficult material. If it’s easy their’s no reason to revisit it and I ignore or accept it. Only when I think I can make a contribution do I put out the effort. That’s why much of my work is with the long forgotten specimens.
I’m sure Naish can find a few other workers who have made mistakes that have made it to the literature, just look for any paper with the word “reinterpretation” in the title. If so where are the diatribes against those workers?
On the other hand I love finding mistakes.
And I don’t mind when others find mistakes in my work — if valid. Making corrections is what I do, both in my work and the work of others. This is the essence of science.
that two years ago Naish dredged through my wastebasket of discarded ideas and employed the work of other artists to satirize and discount my work rather than bringing up specific examples of web work that included errors (and, if valid, these would have been repaired post haste).
Or is it because I’ve made discoveries that might be correct?
Every discovery I make is one less for him, or anyone else to make. And we’re all in this to make discoveries. It’s what powers our drive.
There are just so few mysteries out there, after all. When they’re all cataloged, we’ll all have to retire. ; /
If you’re having trouble figuring all this out,
you’ll know the bad guys from the good guys by the refusal of the former to grant any sort of credit. A few days ago a contribution from Naish got a big thumbs up here.
And his post on ichthyosaurs was first-rate, except for that little detour he took in the middle. An editor might have suggested cutting that out as irrelevant to the discussion at hand.
No, this goes deeper.
And, apparently two years of making corrections to reptileevolution.com has not placated Naish. Something about what I do and have done just raises his ire.
Sorry to see that.
We’re all working toward the same goal, trying to figure out and describe the Tree of Life.
If I really – lied – by calling the colorizing of bones by others for visual representation “another example of DGS,” please let me know so I can stop doing that.