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Re: Bird cladistics

At 09:54 AM 3/3/97 -0600, Rob Meyerson wrote:

>Many times, on this list, we have divulged into heated debate over whether
it ismore correct to call modern birds "dinosaurs" or "dinosaur-decendants (this
>debate is usually along cladist/non-cladist lines)."  Now, I am certain that on
>the therapsid listserve, if such a beast exists, there is not a demand to
call modern mammals "therapsids."

Your assumption is incorrect.

See J.A. Hopson (1994.  Synapsid evolution and the radiation of
non-eutherian mammals.  pp. 190-219.  In: Major Features of Vertebrate
Evolution. Short Courses in Paleontology Number 7.); and T. Rowe (1988.
Definition, diagnosis, and origin of Mammalia.  JVP 8: 241-264; 1993.
Phylogenetic systematics and the early history of mammals.  p. 129-145.  In:
F.S. Szalay, M.J. Novacek & M.C. McKenna (eds), Mammal Phylogey: Mesozoic
Differentiation, Multituberculates, Monotremes, Early Therians, and
Marsupials.  Springer-Verlag) among others.

Phylogenetic taxonomists are peferctly happy to call mammals "therapsids",
as well as "synapsids".

Given that your initial assumption is in error, the experiment you propose
is invalid.

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Vertebrate Paleontologist     Webpage: http://www.geol.umd.edu
Dept. of Geology              Email:th81@umail.umd.edu
University of Maryland        Phone:301-405-4084
College Park, MD  20742       Fax:  301-314-9661

"To trace that life in its manifold changes through past ages to the present
is a ... difficult task, but one from which modern science does not shrink.
In this wide field, every earnest effort will meet with some degree of
success; every year will add new and important facts; and every generation
will bring to light some law, in accordance with which ancient life has been
changed into life as we see it around us to-day."
        --O.C. Marsh, Vice Presidential Address, AAAS, August 30, 1877