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cladistics (not a rant:)

Well, I have in a momentary lapse of strength succumbed to the dark side
of the Force and am not making a tentative entry into the dark netherworld
that is cladistics.
        As I understand it, Maniraptora is the sister group of
Arcotmetatarsalia in a stem-based cladistics (or maybe it's not stem based
but it isn't character-based) although Holtz 1994 uses Maniraptora to
include both- am I right in assuming both these were character-based and
are now stem-based? So what do we call Arctometatarsalia + Maniraptora
exclusive of all other theropods? 
        Also, it seems to me that these things represent one of or the
most important radiations of dinosaurs in their history, and what with the
acquisition of many top-predator roles, small carnivore roles, small and
large herbivore roles, the maniraptora+arctometatarsalia were set up such
that it was possible that eventually they could even have become major
contenders in, if not dominant in, the herbivore role as well as the
carnivore role. Who knows what they would have done if not for that big
rock (maybe. possibly. It's concievable. Who knows? I don't want
to start *this* argument again!).  
        Also, how is "Aves" defined, anyways? Stem based, character based,
node based?

        Nick Longrich