Research Article

Evidence for Avian Intrathoracic Air Sacs in a New Predatory Dinosaur from Argentina

  • Paul C. Sereno mail,

    Affiliation: Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

  • Ricardo N. Martinez,

    Affiliation: Museo de Ciencias Naturales, San Juan, Argentina

  • Jeffrey A. Wilson,

    Affiliation: Museum of Paleontology and Department of Geological Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States of America

  • David J. Varricchio,

    Affiliation: Department of Earth Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, United States of America

  • Oscar A. Alcober,

    Affiliation: Museo de Ciencias Naturales, San Juan, Argentina

  • Hans C. E. Larsson

    Affiliation: Redpath Museum, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

  • Published: September 30, 2008
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0003303
  • Published in PLOS ONE

Reader Comments (3)

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Wedel’s misleading, ad hominem critique

Posted by Dinosaur1 on 27 Oct 2008 at 05:18 GMT

In two trackbacks to our paper, Matt Wedel offers a misleading, longwinded, ad hominen critique of this paper on the new theropod dinosaur, Aerosteon riocoloradensis, and the significance of its pneumatic features. Some personalized aspects of the commentary and erroneous claims push the limits of the “good practice” guidelines posted for commentary in this journal (

In this paper, we did our best to:
1) Present the pneumatic evidence as clearly as possible (Figs. 4-16).
2) Cite the literature thoroughly and fairly (95 citations).
3) Critique available hypotheses for the evolution of avian intrathoracic air sacs and respiratory mechanics.
4) Outline more clearly in tabular format our osteological correlates (Table 4).
5) Diagram more specifically particular stages as supported by current fossil evidence (Fig. 17).

In the short first trackback, Wedel outlines and agrees with all of the main points of the paper. He then digresses to critique earlier papers and ends by explaining what “we’ve been up to”, referring to papers by himself, Pat O’Connor and Leon Claessens—research we cited many times in the paper, both positively for evidence and in critique. Much of the personalized negativity of the second trackback is clearly generated by Wedel’s sense that the press unfairly aggrandized our work compared to theirs, which we somehow slighted and miscited.

Neither we nor Pat O’Connor (pers. comm.) feel that personalized, ad hominem blogs like Wedel’s advance scientific understanding or enhance collegiality.

RE: Wedel’s misleading, ad hominem critique

MikeTaylor replied to Dinosaur1 on 31 Oct 2008 at 10:22 GMT

Wedel has posted a lengthy response to this comment on the same blog that hosts his initial response to the Aerosteon paper. You can read it at

RE: Wedel’s misleading, ad hominem critique

Talapaas replied to Dinosaur1 on 01 Nov 2008 at 19:14 GMT

Nitpicky and only tangentially related, but Greek <i>osteon</i> is neuter. The species name needs to be <i>A. riocoloradense</i> to match.