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Dinosaur = extinct animal (was Re: CNN: Giant Dinosaur-Age Bones in Antarctica Clue toWarmerClimaten)
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- Subject: Dinosaur = extinct animal (was Re: CNN: Giant Dinosaur-Age Bones in Antarctica Clue toWarmerClimaten)
- From: "Grant Harding" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Sat, 10 Jul 1999 20:06:47 -0400
- Reply-to: "Grant Harding" <@cyberus.ca>
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><< > Popular image of dinosaurs: big reptiles from Mesozoic. Period.
> Don't forget _Dimetrodon_ -- neither Mesozoic nor reptilian nor terribly
> big, yet ask the average person on the street... >>
> Guess we should make it "big prehistoric reptiles." Period. >>
>Oh, you'll have to go considerably further than that. I think in general
>usage, dinosaur is a cognomen for "extinct animal".
You might even have to expand that definition to include animals that are
still alive, but have been around for some time. Throughout my (short)
life, I have been approached by several people who firmly believe that
sharks are dinosaurs - after all, they *were* around back then. Even modern
reptiles that don't have a long evolutionary history are often rumored to be
dinosaurs, or their descendants (which in the cladistic sense means the same
In addition, while Keith says that the classic definition of dinosaur is
"extinct animal", I can think of one exception. I have never heard anybody
claim that prehistoric humans were dinosaurs, though I could be wrong.
However, I don't know at what point in primate evolution "dinosaur" stops
and "human" begins.
And then, of course, there's that acquaintance of mine who says that
alligators are dinosaurs - he knows they aren't, but he just does it to bug
>Today, a co-worker
>called my attention to a newspaper item announcing the perennial resumption
>of work at the La Brea Pit #91 -- where "they're excavating dinosaurs."
High school student/closet paleontologist
Visit Grant Harding's Dinosaur Destination at
"...I suspect he actually has a subspecies of _Stenonychosaurus_, though I
haven't decided for sure...small Triassic carnivore--two meters from pes to
acetabulum. In point of fact, a rather ordinary theropod..." -from
Crichton's _The Lost World_