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Re: More reptile stuff



In a message dated 12/17/98 12:24:49 PM Eastern Standard Time,
th81@umail.umd.edu writes:

<< Choosing a particular explicit definition is arbitrary.
 There might be various justifications for it (taxonomic history, species
 diversity, important transformations associated with it), but as with ALL
 taxonomic assignment, the name chosen and the definition chosen is
 ultimately arbitary.  (The group "turtles + (lepidosaurs + archosaurs)"
 could just have easily been called 'Fred', for instance, but for historical
 reasons has been labeled 'Reptilia'). >>

However, the idea of a
Scala Natura has traditionally kept non-mammalian, non-avian amniotes to a
"lower vertebrate" "class".

POOH BAH (The Mikado): 
Don't mention it. I am, in point of fact, a particularly haughty and exclusive
person, of pre-Adamite ancestral descent. You will understand this when I tell
you that I can trace my ancestry back to a protoplasmal primordial atomic
globule. Consequently, my family pride is something inconceivable. I can't
help it. I was born sneering.

Proving you don't have to be an amniote to have class.

Thank you for saying the definition is arbitrary.  I have been trying to see
some ordering principle which would make classification inevitable, but the
broader the category, well, the stranger the common ancestor must have been. 
Relaxing from classification, I thought, I picked up '_Dinosaur in a
Haystack_, Stephen Jay Gould, and read, 'In particular, such stories [of
meaningful progress] virtually dictate that complex systems can best be
understood by searching for a simpler state, an earlier stage, or a more
primitive version...To illustrate this theme of misconstruing the less complex
as the primitive precursor...' (p. 346)  Are we sure our basal animals are
basal?  Is the Ladder part of the classification process?

Slogging on after the patterns...