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Nitpicky comment (was Re: paleontolgist, dinosaur)



At 05:21 PM 11/13/96 -0500, you wrote:

>(Also, since birds are so closely related to the maniraptors, I do not
>think we can really call the dinosaur extinction 100% - here, at least,
>I think the cladists have a valid point)

If I've said this once... :-(

The word "Maniraptora" BY DEFINITION includes the birds!  It was coined only
as a clade containing birds, it has no meaning without the inclusion of
birds, it has no historical use outside of phylogenetic systematics (whereas
many other dinosaur taxon names, e.g. "Coelurosauria" have pre-cladistic
meanings).  This term should not be used outside of a cladistic context.  If
you choose not to use a cladistic taxonomy, then please do NOT use the word
"maniraptor".

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Vertebrate Paleontologist     Webpage: http://www.geol.umd.edu
Dept. of Geology              Email:th81@umail.umd.edu
University of Maryland        Phone:301-405-4084
College Park, MD  20742       Fax:  301-314-9661

"To trace that life in its manifold changes through past ages to the present
is a ... difficult task, but one from which modern science does not shrink.
In this wide field, every earnest effort will meet with some degree of
success; every year will add new and important facts; and every generation
will bring to light some law, in accordance with which ancient life has been
changed into life as we see it around us to-day."
        --O.C. Marsh, Vice Presidential Address, AAAS, August 30, 1877