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Re: A few very short questions
In a message dated 12/7/1999 6:11:36 PM Pacific Standard Time,
> > 1. I said dinosaurs are reptiles.
> > Is it true that dinosaurs are considered to be close relatives
> > of reptiles,
> > but in a class of their own?
> While some (such as Bob Bakker) have advocated that position, it is not
> held by most people working on the relationships of dinosaurs to each other
> and to other vertebrates.
> To divide the question into two parts:
> I) Dinosauria is part of Reptilia, so dinosaurs are reptiles.
> II) The concept of a "Class" (and "Order" and "Family" and so on) has been
> abandoned by most working systemicists.
Though I think it is important to note that under this definition of
Reptilia, birds, being dinosaurs, are reptiles as well--indeed, if I remember
correctly, the majority of living "reptile" species are birds. So the term
should not be taken to make the same phylogenetic, physiological, and
behavioral implications that the colloquial term "reptile" ("scaly,
sprawling, cold-blooded, unintelligent, more or less like a lizard") makes.
Personally, the use of Reptilia in this fashion bothers me a bit, both
because of its meaning, "crawly things", and because of the connotations it
carries for most people.