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Dino Birds (was Re: Dinosaur = extinct animal)
Please forgive what may be a dumb or worn-out question, but I'm afraid the
classifying of birds as dinosaurs just doesn't make that much sense to me. My
knowledge of cladistics isn't very good, so that may well be the problem, but on
purely logical grounds it is hard for me to grasp the reasoning involved.
If we are going to classify birds as dinosaurs because of their descent, then
would we classify mammals as reptiles, reptiles as amphibians, amphibians as
fish, etc.? If not, what is the difference in the case of dinosaurs and
birds? If the idea is that the birds never "left" the dinosauria, then how do
you ever "leave"? If in fact we should consider mammals as a form of reptile
(and thereby also a type of amphibian, fish, etc.) haven't we stretched the
meaning of the terminology past the breaking point? Wouldn't it be better to
come up with a new terminology?