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Re: Quo vadis, T. rex? [long]
On Thu, 8 Feb 1996, Jeffrey Martz wrote:
> > But do you see where I'm coming from? The way I see it, birds *can't* be
> > "derived enough" to "warrant being called something different", just as
> > neither I nor any of my descendants can ever not be a mammal and a
> > primate. A bird can't change itself enough to erase who its ancestors
> > were, or what its closest relatives are.
> > In my book, the purpose of
> > taxonomy is to illustrate what is related to what. You can't do that if
> > you go around ripping groups out of their proper places in the tree of
> > life and pretending that they've become something else.
> We've become something other than crossopterygian
We're not "fish" (an unscientific term for vertebrates that live in the
water and breathe with gills), but you'd better believe we're
crossopterygians! (Actually, I prefer to crossopterygians + tetrapods as
Sarcoscelidea. The "Crossopterygia" would then be dismantled as a
formal taxon and listed as "basal sarcoscelideans.")
> Taxonomy is useful in showing how things are related, but also in
> how they differ which is why we call things by different names.
Yes, they acquire a new name, but they don't lose the old one. The
distinctiveness of birds is recognized by the fact that they have their
own taxon, the Aves, but it is unnecessary and silly to try to emphasize
the point by trying to say that they are not dinosaurs.
> does not alter phylogenetic relationships, only makes thing a little more
> convenient. We can use the different termss "birds" and "dinosaurs" while
> recognizing at the same time that the first group is still descended from the
OK. Use "dinosaurs" as a non-technical short-hand for non-avian members of
the Dinosauria. Just don't forget that in scientific terms, they're still
memebers of the Dinosauria.
> LN Jeff
Pacific Lutheran University
Tacoma, WA 98447
"If you can't convince them, confuse them." -- Harry S Truman