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my two cents worth

Hello all!!

  This is my second time around on this list,and after a long hiatus,and some
weeks lurking and being "brought up to speed" <pouring through the
archives>,I would just like to add a couple of things,for all that's worth.

a) re: cladistics....there has been much debate about cladistics,and while
cladistics are certainly useful,they won't be truly accepted until some form
of 'universal standard" for cladistics is set. For example,some governing
body might have to be set up to moderate what data sets are to be used,to
provide "bona fide" results. I feel that cladistics is still far too
arbitrary in that the programmer has carte blanche to assign whatever values
he or she feels bear the most weight,dependant on personal preference or
bias. I have already seen many cladograms (all VERY different) for theropod
dinosaurs. How can we make things more consistant?
b) I still have some difficulty with the statement "birds are dinosaurs". I
feel that birds are still birds (class Aves) and dinosaurs are still
dinosaurs. Can we perhaps refer to the avian-like dinosaurs as just that,and
not birds...at least yet! Bear in mind that all of us who work in Paleo are
dealing exclusively with MORPHOSPECIES and we can't truly (or honestly) start
drawing too many hard-and-fast conclusions. Speculation is great,but in a
decade or so,we'll be re-thinking this hypothesis for the umpteenth time!
Thanks to all for some very stimulating conversation.