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Re: dino-to-bird

At 19.43 11/04/97 -0600, you wrote:
>I recently heard of a primitive bird that was found in the Mesazoic
>Era. What impact is this having on dinosaur paleontology?
>     I think that dinosaurs weren't entirely birds,or entirely reptiles.
>I believe that they were a hybird of both. I also believe that they may
>be a completely new order. That they are there own thing. You know what
>I mean.
>Caleb Lewis

I think we should not forget that taxa are *our* creations, useful to think
and work about living and past organisms: the species are real biological
categories. If it's relatively easy to classify into a taxon an organism
that displays clearly carachters typical of that taxon (because *we* have
stated that all organisms with those carachters will be grouped in it),
problems may rise with an organism with carachters that are between two
taxon: but it (the organism) simply exists (or existed). Saying for instance
that Archaeopteryx was not a dinosaur only because it was feathered and so
it was automatically a bird is a thautology.

Eugenio Spreafico

P.S. Only a precisation: birds and reptiles are not orders but classes and
dinosauria are inscripted to orders saurischians and ornitischians.