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Re: [Re: Reptilia]

In a message dated 12/9/98 2:26:58 AM Eastern Standard Time,
qilongia@yahoo.com writes:

<< analyzing the
 oviraptorosauria as I am, I am faced with detirmining which characters
 may be stronger than another, and which ones have no bearing on the
 matter. As it is, there is one function-related characters that help
 define Oviraptorosauria which at the moment are unambiguous: loss of
 maxillary/premaxillary/dentary teeth. >>

Your comments do help, but I do have a question.
You appear to assume that there is a group of animals called Oviraptorosauria
and your job is to choose among the common characteristics to find the
functionally-related ones.

Taking a step back, how do you know that these animals are Oviraptorosauria?
You seem to imply that Oviraptorosauria is diagnosed by at least some non-
functional characteristics.  Do you have a known, specific basal animal and
obvious direct descent?  Or geographic proximity of animals with 'important'

Some organizing principle is implied by the existence of Oviraptorosauria, and
it is not physical characteristics, which diagnose but do not define.  Your
post implies it is not function, which is a large part of adaptation.

Hrmph.  I used to spend hours lost in the stacks at Sterling Library on
questions like this, wishing there was course credit.  Anyway, thanks.