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J Seward asked:

>Are you referring to creationism (the 6 24-hour-day interpretation), 
or to

Technically, any belief in special creation is Creationism, whether 
based on Genesis or any of the hundreds of other creation myths which 
have developed.  It includes believing that the physical universe was 
created, although I think we'd agree that evolutionists who believe 
in a Creator (or Creators) should be welcome on this list.

The word does have a second meaning, which is irrelevant, so I'm not 
going to tell you what it is.


Jeff's phylogeny has proved very stimulating, and I believe his 
principal distinction between Amateuria and Professionalosauria is 
sound.  However, as one who once aspired to be a Devout Cladist, I 
think that a formal phylogenetic analysis is in order. 

I propose we draw up a questionnaire to gather firm data about the 
character states of list members.  Some suggested questions are 
presented below, but a few dozen will be needed for a thorough 
analysis.  I prefer informative characters over others which may be 
more amusing.

The raw data will be published to the list, and can then be used to 
draw up a cladogram with the aid of PAUP or a similar program.  
(Various other statistical analyses could be performed by anyone who 
wants to investigate opinions on controversial subjects.)

I don't have access to suitable software, but I hope someone will 
volunteer to perform the analysis.  There will be two advantages to 
this.  Firstly you will be able to fiddle around to put yourself in a 
respectable position and embarrass any rivals, although I would 
prefer to depart from standard cladistic procedure by arguing about 
the technical merits of various algorithms _before_ the results are 

The second advantage is that you will be able to work out the 
vernacular names of many of the binomials submitted.  Each respondent 
should choose a Latin name to appear in the final cladogram.  This 
will serve to conceal or reveal your name as you choose.  It may be 
your own name Latinised or translated, or whatever you choose, 
subject to three restrictions:

1) It must be either Latin, or Latinised.  Correct grammar is not 
essential.  It should consist of two words.
2) It should not be obscene or insulting (so no S. humanum, please).
3) If it resembles another list member's real name, nickname or email 
address (perhaps translated), you will be answerable to them...

Naming yourself after a dinosaur or other organism will be allowed.  
If multiple respondents choose the same name, strict priority will be 



N.B. these are all unordered characters: higher numbers are not 
necessarily more or less 'advanced'.  
No reference materials to be used.  Time limit: 65 million years.

Have you ever found a vertebrate fossil?

Have you ever bought a fossil (real or replica)?

Do you think all fossils should be traded on the open market?

Does you work with or study (choose the _first_ which applies):
        1) real live dinosaurs
        2) real dinosaurs
        3) Mesozoic life
        4) fossils
        5) rocks
        6) living organisms
        7) dinosaur products (including art & fiction)
        8) Barney
        9) none of the above
        0) N/A (I don't work or study.)

How many times have you watched Jurassic Park?

How many outright errors in Jurassic Park can you think of?
(No need to list them.)

        1) came first.
        2) are dinosaurs.
        3) are off-topic.
        0) aren't as cool as dinosaurs.

Tyrannosaurus rex was probably more or less:
        0) endothermic (warm-blooded).
        1) ectothermic (cold-blooded).

Birds evolved flight through:
        0) jumping around/out of trees.
        1) some other means.

Phylogenetic analysis:
        0) is the only way of producing a sound classification.
        1) is a valuable step in making a sensible classification.
        2) is a necessary evil.
        3) is too inflexible to be of much use.
        4) sounds interesting.
        5) sounds boring - I'm only filling this in out of altruism.

Please do NOT send your answers to the list!  Don't send them 
anywhere yet.  These questions are for discussion.


Thoughts, please?

                                        All the best,

                                                        Bill Adlam