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Re: Archie the Dinosaur?

>   Which brings up a question:  is Archie considered a dinosaur or a bird?


>Obviously, many people, including myself, consider birds to be dinosaurs ...
>so, ergo, if Archie is a bird it is a dinosaur.  On my web page, I have
>pictures of Archaeopteryx along with Deinonychus and Utahraptor for my
>"Raptor" section ("raptor" referring to Maniraptors, not Dromaeosaurids even
>though that's what the article is about).
>   I suppose the true question is ... hell, I don't know what my question
>is.  One Archaeopteryx skeleton was mis-diagnosed as Compsognathus for
>decades.  At what point does it stop being a "dinosaur" and start being a

In phylogenetic taxonomy, once you are a member of the taxon, your
descendants will ALWAYS be a member of the taxon, no matter how derived they
become.  Trochilids (humingbirds) are birds, and maniraptorans, and
coelurosaurs, and avetheropods, and tetanurines, and theropods, and
saurischians, and dinosaurs.

Birds are any descendant of the most recent common ancestor of Archaeopteryx
and neornithine birds.

>   <sigh> ... that's probably as clear as mud ....  If anybody wants to try
>to answer this maybe they should state the question too ....
>   I suppose what I want to know comes from two different viewpoints:  1)
>If birds are not dinosaurs, deserving of their own classification, on which
>side does Archaeopteryx come down, dinosaur or bird; 2) Taking the POV that
>birds are simply another family of dinosaurs, where does Archaeopteryx fit
>in?  Does it belong in Avalae with modern birds, or Dromaosauridae,
>whatever?  At what point would you make the switch?

Archaeopteryx is in Avialae BY DEFINITION.  Although the composition or
diagnosis of Avialae may change, Archaeopteryx will always be a member.

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Vertebrate Paleontologist
Dept. of Geology
University of Maryland
College Park, MD  20742
Email:Thomas_R_HOLTZ@umail.umd.edu (th81)
Fax: 301-314-9661