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Systematics and arguments over Oviraptor brooding



Two unrelated (to each other) items of potential interest in the
latest (July 12) issue of _Science_ (my apologies if this is too
hasty; please ask me for a clarification if you can't tell what I'm
about to babble about):

On pp. 165-166, Mark Norell and James Clark have a letter to the
editor.  They complain about Geist and Jones' article (re:
ossification in perinatal Oviraptor pelves).  Norell and Clark wish to
make hay over the fact that birds are closely related to theropods,
and thus the brooding of eggs by Oviraptors should be considered more
similar to brooding by birds than to brooding by crocodiles.  Geist
and Jones come back swinging over the fact that people have been too
quick to accept claims of altriciality in dinosaurs.  In summary they
state: "We merely point out that _Oviraptor_ fossils present no
significant evidence that precluded their reproductive biology from
having resembled that of modern crocodilians."  And so the
thermoregulatory debate continues...

Not directly related to dinosaurs alone, pg. 181 reports on a joint
meeting between the Society for the Study of Evolution and the Society
of Systematic Biologists.  Michael Donoghue, the outgoing president of
the latter group gave the presidential address... where he urged
systematists to chuck the Linnaean rules of taxonomy and devise a new
code of nomenclature (I don't say only zoological nomenclature because
Donoghue is a botanist) in which evolutionary relationships are not
distorted and groups can be moved from one place in the nomenclatural
hierarchy to another without regard for any artificial "ranks".
Cladists of the world unite!

-- 
Mickey Rowe     (rowe@lepomis.psych.upenn.edu)