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Re: A few very short questions

In a message dated 12/7/1999 6:11:36 PM Pacific Standard Time, 
tholtz@geol.umd.edu writes:

> > 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.

--Nick Pharris