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Re: Quo vadis, T. rex? (my last!)
I want to thank everyone, especially Tom, Nick, and Dinogeorge, for their
comments, some lengthy, on my query. My tiresome refrain, "KISS!",
notwithstanding, I can see that coelurosaurian phylogeny is so
complicated and poorly known that its resolution seems to be beyond the
reach of the current data. In fact, it seems as if the "current data"
are none too well known, either, what with misrepresented and
misinterpreted characters and squashed and scattered bones--too many
uncertainties, assumptions, and prejudices involved in the
reconstructions. It's not just Chatterjee and _Protoavis_, but maybe
also Ostrom et al. with _Compsognathus_, and other examples recently
mentioned here. Maybe we're all subject to this, through a combination
of the human intellect and the nature of the material (so don't be so
hard on Sankar, folks).
Relative to some other postings, I simply have to go with Linnaean
categories for my dinosaurs class. All of these categories, Linnaean and
cladistic, are imaginary, anyway (OK, mental constructs reflecting our
hypotheses of relationship)--only the living populations were real.
I just told everyone that _Spinosaurus_, _Baryonyx_, and _Carnotaurus_
are abelisaurid ceratosaurs. ARGHH! Well, I had to tell them SOMETHING!
Distillation of the comments I received, plus additional discussion I've
seen here, suggests I should go with this scheme for coelurosaurs (yes, I
know it's oversimplified, and not exactly avant-garde):
As it stands, this scheme cleverly avoids the issue of whether
arctometatarsalians are derived maniraptors. And no way am I going to
mix birds with this (anybody can see that these are dinosaurs, not
birds!). The more uncertainty there is, the better Linnaeus looks.
In a recent posting (02/05/96; 12:57p) titled "Taxonomy is for the birds"
(or something like that), Dinogeorge perceptively noted "Confusion
Norman R. King tel: (812) 464-1794
Department of Geosciences fax: (812) 464-1960
University of Southern Indiana
8600 University Blvd.
Evansville, IN 47712 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org