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Brontosaurus, Jurassic Park



Replying to the comments on Jurassic Park-"reconstructing" dinosaurs:
The bizarre chimerae the article advocates cannot be considered dinosaurs.
Membership in a taxonomic group is based on lines of descent, not overall
morphology.  Additionally, there are major differences between sauropsid
(birds and "reptiles", including dinosaurs) and mammalian biology, including
the physiology and developmental patterns of bone growth, the types of red
blood cells (sauropsids have DNA in theirs, mammals do not), and the
biochemical means by which endothermy are acheived.  I wish it were
otherwise, but "Jurassic Park" remians unrealistic for the foreseeable future.

Note that if we did reconstruct a dinosaur using only dinosaurian DNA, it
would be a true dinosaur.  Since line of descent is essentially just passing
on your DNA, such a reconstructed being would fit the appropriate
requirements.

As towards the "Brontosaurus" problem:  scientists have recognized the
nomenclatural problem since the turn of the century, and it has been brought
to the public's attention throughout this period.  Despite Bakker (perhaps
the most extreme taxonomic "splitter" working in the Dinosauria today),
there is no scientific reason to sink Apatosaurus in favor of Brontosaurus.
If public opinon were required for taxonomy,  whales would be included with
the fish, pterosaurs in Aves (since many laymen call them "prehistoric
birds"), and mammoths and sabre-tooth cats in Dinosauria.