I thoroughly enjoyed the article on Peter Dobbins' dental echolocation research - www.nature.com/news/2007/070319/full/070319-2.html
Like the others who posted comments in Nature's Blog, I am also very enthusiastic about this kind of potentially ground-breaking research and I can see that Peter Dobbins is the kind of researcher who is not scared to think 'outside the box'. It's just a pity, however, that there always seems to be people like Whitlow Au who would dismiss the theory out of hand. As a member of the general public – whom scientists ultimately serve – I would rather have my tax money back open-minded researchers like Peter Dobbins than doubtful researchers like Whitlow Au.
It’s my opinion that if Au had come up with such a hypothesis first he wouldn’t have thought it ‘wild’ at all. In any case, I think the basis of Au’s argument against Dobbins’ hypothesis is rather weak. Has he never heard of the simple concept of ‘adaptation’? In order to survive ‘life’ always makes a plan. What Au’s argument boils down to is this (and I will give an analogy to illustrate my point): A man with no arms who learns to write, paint, fish, eat and even brush his teeth with his feet would not have used his arms to perform the same tasks while he still had them. Why? Because clearly, he can do the same things with his feet!