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Re: Family Ties



Stanley Friesen writes;

>The crests are almost certainly species-specific display features.  This
>means that they are prone to rapid, divergent, episodic evolution.  This
>makes them extremely *poor* taxonomic characters.  They simply change too
>fast, and too often, to be useful for much beyond recognizing species, and
>sometimes genera.

This would also hold true for any display feature on any animal.  Attempting to 
classify ceratopians on the basis of horn size and number would be sketchy at 
best (it has caused some confusion in the past).

While we are on the subject, has the proper placement of _Triceratops_ been 
finalized?  I have seen it called both a chasmosaurine and a centrosaurine (or 
is it pachyrhinosaurine???) depending on the author, and I was wondering if 
this area of confusion has been put to rest.


Rob Meyerson
Orphan Vertebrate Paleontologist

***
The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new 
discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That's 
funny ..." 
-- Isaac Asimov