“Dinosaur Heresies,” Part 3

Things I learned while reading “Dinosaur Heresies,” by Dr. Robert T. Bakker:  pp. 199-322. Part 3

Andrew Carnegie, a wealthy American benefactor from the 1900’s, had a long neck dinosaur (Diplodocus carnegii) named after him due to his financial support of paleontology excavation (Bakker 201-203).  After a request from England came for an intact skeleton, the process of plaster casting the bones of the tall dinosaur was accomplished and a complete model skeleton was sent to England along with instructions for assembly.  Many other orders came internationally for the same gift from Carnegie for their museums.  American ingenuity!  Thank you to all the wealthy Americans who have blessed our nation and peoples across the world with their money, knowledge, technology and gifts!  Americans have a long, rich heritage of sharing their wealth on our soil and world-wide.

On pages 232-233, Bakker suggested that the stegosaurus might have been able to directionally move its dorsal plates from a vertical position to more horizontal position when attacked (or vice versa).  He called it a “flexible armor defense.”

On page 303, Bakker listed conditions for accepting a “transitional missing link” from dinosaurs to birds.  In this book section, the Doctor also suggested that the evolution of pterodactyls occurred differently than birds.

On page 316 Dr. Bakker discussed “genetic storage” in relation to gaining and losing characteristics in the evolutionary scheme.  The examples discussed are transitional fossils (Hesperornis and Archaeopteryx), representing dinosaur transition to birds, which he supported. The genetic information is in the code, and the DNA code can be turned on or off and either promote a trait or repress a trait (my assessment).  For a book written in 1986, I think this thinking on the Doctor’s part was almost precocious.  The whole idea of the book “Dinosaur Heresies” is to explore thinking on dinosaurs that is “outside of the box.”  Again, my assessment.

In another blog I wrote on darrellbarnes.blog, I articulated this idea of the dominance of DNA.  I even suggested that if Darwin could rewrite his book Origin of Species again, he might simply call it “How DNA works.”  Is it evolution or is it simply the expression or inhibition of genetic possibilities within the DNA code?  I completely understand that the evolution community depends on mutation for change.  My question:  Is it really mutation or is it selective expression or suppression of genes already within the DNA code of the organism?

Bakker excurses into a flavor of Lamarckism (persistence of used traits:  use/disuse) on page 318.  In this case he was discussing the reappearance of ancient limb structures (atavism) in a modern bird called a hoatzin.  In the 2010’s, we now know that habits can influence genetic expression through epigenetics.


Bakker, Robert T. The Dinosaur Heresies.  William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1986.

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