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Re: Quo vadis, T. rex? [long]



In a message dated 96-02-06 12:50:11 EST, CALPIN.SHARON@a1.pader.gov (Sharon
A. Calpin (717) 621-3118) writes:

>Mr. Webster says:
>bird: any of a class (Aves) of warm-blooded vertebrates distinguished by
>having 
>the body more or less completely covered with feathers and the forelimbs 
>modified as wings.
>
>Everyone is trying to be so careful about pronunciation and Latin spelling, 
>why not be careful about vocabulary.
>
>

Mr. Webster's definition is paraphyletic and typological. But that's okay,
because he is using the term "bird" in a vernacular sense, though trying to
mask it somewhat by referring to the "class Aves." For example, the giant
flightless "creature" _Titanis walleri_, scientifically classified as a bird,
had forelimbs modified from wings back into clawed hands. According to the
typological definition of Webster, this would not be a bird. Also, it is not
at all certain that the earliest creatures (e.g., _Archaeopteryx_) that
almost all scientists call birds were "warm-blooded"--a vague term in itself.