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Re: DINORNITHANS



Larry Febo wrote:

<Why not rename the whole group? Something more definitive? Like
"DINORNITHANS". No,... seriously!>

  Well, personally, it seems to cut a little close to Dinornithidae, a
group of ratites, one of the families also known as moa.

<I know we all are used to Dinosaur, but comeon, it means" terrible
lizards". And we know they`re not lizards...right? Terrible, OK. I
suppose to the insects even these modern Dinos we call birds are
pretty fierce and  "terrible". So who gets to name them?>

  Dinosaur, from Gr. _deinos_ interpreted as "awesomely great" or
"awesomely terrible", with terrible having the connotations of
something that inspires fear or awe or respect (I have nothing but
respect for the Dinosauria); and Gr. _sauros_ variously "lizard" or
more generally, "reptile", so roughly means "awesomely great
reptiles", and by present cladistic definition (Gauthier, among
others, I think, with work by Sereno) they are members of Reptilia.
Hence they are reptiles.

  Lately, I've noticed a trend towards naming dinosaurs without the
insufferable -saurus heading, despite its mized meaning. We tend to
think of dinosaurs as other than lizards, a connotation I think the
zoo-workers and other idea-men:

  (Flash! Dinosaurs in our zoo!
   Oh, it's just an iguana; horkin' BIG iguana, but an
   iguana nonetheless.)

  I like the new look on dino names. Some, like Sereno, Olshevsky,
Bakker, and others are tending towards loosing the misnomer, as it
seems. Good for them. It makes you run for your Greek and Latin
translators to look up the roots for "Gompophyli" [sic?] (Wilson et
Sereno, 1998), but that's all to the good.

<Does one have to be a Cladist or make a good argument for it?>

  No. A clear definition helps, though. Owen's intent was not to name
them after iguanas, though he labelled them "giant Saurians". Darwin,
and a year later, Huxley, really helped the idea of birdy dinos later
supported by Bakker and Paul, among others.

<Perhaps through common usage our descendants might decide? All I know
is that right here and now I find it awkward to have to refer to
certain "non-avian theropods" as such. And what will we do when we
find fossil forms that are so closely related that one can`t decide
whether to call them non-avian or avian (and I think we`re already
very close to that).>

  Alvarezsaurids. I think they're avialans (metornithids, to be exact
(Novas, 1993)). They only reinforce the relationship between the two
groups.

<Perhaps a common heading would eliminate some of the confusion. So,
...all those in favor of  "Dinornithans" say aye! (I`m sure some
ornithologists will put up a fight).>

  Agreeably. Some would cheer, Chatterjee and Chiappe among them.

==
Jaime A. Headden

Qilong, the website, at:
http://members.tripod.com/~Qilong/qilong.html
---
All comments and criticisms are welcome!

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