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Re: DINORNITHAN



At 03:14 PM 8/28/98 -0400, Larry Febo wrote:

>{Yes, but we`re stuck with two currently valid major taxons "Dinosauria"
and "Aves", sooner or later they have to clash, don`t you think?

Not at all.  Dinosauria is the more inclusive term, Aves a more exclusive.
The fact that we use the taxon Chiroptera (bats) doesn't stop us from using
more inclusive groups, such as Theria, Mammalia, or Vertebrata.

>When do you stop calling it a bird?

Unless you are George, you don't "stop" calling it a bird; you only start
calling it a bird (at the point you are into Avialae or Aves or some other
"bird" taxon).

>Now I`m assuming that Sauropodomorphs developed from a proto-bird with 5
digits on the manus, probably at what...the climbing stage, or early gliding
stage?

If you agree with the BCF phylogeny, the above is a valid question.  If you
are working from the phylogenies accepted by almost every working dinosaur
paleontologist in the world, the above is nonsensical.

In the more standard (well supported, independantly derived, falsifiable,
etc.) phylogenies, the ancestor of Sauropodomorpha is no more a "proto-bird"
than it is a "proto-tyrannosaur" or a "proto-titanosaur" or a
"proto-lambeosaur" or a "proto-Protoceratops".  Yes, it had a five fingered
manus.  I might even say that climbing is not out of the question: good
evidence supports the idea of a grasping hand in basal Dinosauria.  But
early gliding?  Not supported by the data as almost everybody but Olshevsky
sees it.

(Does this automatically mean that Olshevsky is wrong?  No.  However, it
might be a good idea to examine these other phylogenies as well).

>Can it be called a bird yet if it dosen`t have powered flight? Assuming we
ever find this missing specimen, who will claim it , the ornithologists or
the dinosaurologists?}

Just an aside: other than George, Greg Paul, and maybe one or two others out
there, people who work and publish on dinosaurs don't call themselves
"dinosaurologists".  "Dinosaur paleontologists", or more generally
"vertebrate paleontologists", but not "dinosaurologists".  Although Greg
Paul suggested this term in Predatory Dinosaurs of the World, it never
really got off the ground (except for recent years in the relative small
Internet dinosaur community).

And, almost certainly, the ancestor of sauropodomorphs would be something
that dinosaur paleontologists would "claim", rather than paleornithologists.

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