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<<Scutes were suggested as a possible alternative to scales as the
starting condition.>>

I believe that crocodilian scutes were mentioned in the article 
discussed.  Of interest to everyone within this debate is Lovtrup (1977) 
reported that turtles have the same type of scute as crocodilians and 
squamates show the same type of scute as birds.  Hmm...  

Interestingly, the basic phylogeny that Hedges and Poling (1999) found 
for reptiles is rather similiar to the phylogeny produced by Lovtrup in 
1977 (_Phylogeny of the Vertebrates_; a fine book, though rather 
heterdox, particulary in the section on the ancestry of vertebrates).  
Lovtrup found that among amniotes, mammals are the most basal clade and 
a (squamate (tuatara (turtle (crocodile+bird) sequence.  This is 
similiar to the tree produced by Hedges and Poling.

Matt Troutman 

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