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Re: DEFINE BIRD



In a message dated 97-10-21 03:03:12 EDT, tkeese1@gl.umbc.edu writes:

<< On Mon, 20 Oct 1997, Jeffrey Martz wrote:
 
 >      Could someone post the precise definition of Aves?  Variations not
 > based on the assumptions that birds are descended from _Archaeopteryx_
 > and/or theropods might be interesting.
 
 Official cladistic definition: the most recent ancestor of _Archaeopteryx_
 and modern birds and all of that ancestor's descendants. >>

Since there's not yet any such thing as an "official" definition of Aves
(ICZN ignores taxa higher than family level), I've been using the following
stem-based definition: Aves = all dinosaurs more closely related to
_Megalosaurus_ than to _Iguanodon_. Not even priority rules in this realm;
only popular acceptance (otherwise theropods would be called goniopods and
sauropods opisthocoelians).

Maybe it's time to change the rules?