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John Bois wrote...
> > And birds _are_ part of the dinosaurs as a group. Restricting your
> > arguments to "non-avian dinosaurs" is _pure_ semantics.
> This is the "non-extinction" theory of dinosaur extinction. If all
> of the animals I describes became extinct, why?
This is an entirely reasonable retaliation. I think I now understand
where cladistics is coming from, but this has turned my criticisms in a
new direction: Cladistics may be a nice taxonomic system, but its naming
system should be left out of a lot of discussions on evolution and
extinction, or at least cladists should not let the purely inclusive
nature of cladistics cloud thier reasoning as to WHAT and WHY things
happened in evolution. Stepping around the extinction of dinosaurs by
saying that "dinosaurs did not become extinct because birds are still around"
clouds and misleads the issue. There was some important difference between
birds and dinosaurs that allowed them to survive, so drawing no distinction
between the two implys that the fact that one small highly derived and
specialized branch on the dinosaur family tree survived and flourished
while the rest of dinosaur diversity went extinct is meaningless.
I guess cladistics is ok as long as you don't let the tail wag the
dog, and understand its limitations.