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Re: Phyl Tax roundup (was Re: Quick cladistics question)

At 03:06 PM 4/3/97 -0500, Dr. Holtz wrote:
>Gauthier (p. 12 of the 1986 paper) indicates that his use of "birds" and
>Aves are not synonymous, as as Archaeopteryx IS a "bird", but is outside of
>his formulation of Aves.
        But he implies (if not states specifically) that "birds" does not
consitute a taxon, but is a vernacular term for feathered winged
vertebrates. Chiappe's objection to the use of Aves as a crown group taxon
stems from the fact that the word for "bird" sensu Gauthier in many other
languages stems from the latin root av-. Thus, while Gauthier's use makes
fine sense in English, where we have a latin word for "crown group birds"
and a vernacular term for "birds", in other languages (Spanish?), you have
one word, which means a different group in the vernacular than it does to
        The larger point here is that "birds" is not meant to be a taxon,
but a vernacular, typological name. Of course I'm not advocating that we
cannot use these taxa as they are formulated, but I think somebody oughtta
get down to the train station and fix 'em (preferrably *without* using
higher taxa in the definition).

>Thus, it seems that he is using "bird" as the vernacular form of Avialae.
        And if I were to do this (ie. use "bird" in a definition) in my
thesis, anybone on my committee worth his salt would ram it back where it
came from. On the other hand, I didn't *invent* phlyogenetic taxonomy, so
Gauthier certainly deserves some slack!

>(Chiappe, in the Gondwana dinos volume, uses "bird" as the vernacular for
>his formulation of Aves (Archie + Neornithes) and "modern bird" as the
>vernacular for Neornithes (Gauthier's version of Aves).
        I believe the rules of priority (as they stand) favor Gauthier's
interpretation. If Chiappe gets to change this, surely we should be allowed
to change the definition of Dinosauria!
      Jonathan R. Wagner, Dept. of Geosciences, TTU, Lubbock TX 79409
            Web Page:  http://faraday.clas.virginia.edu/~jrw6f