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re: fixing dinosaur question

On Thu, 27 May 1999 11:22:08 -0400 (EDT), Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. wrote:

> There is nothing wrong with the word "dinosaur".  There is nothing wrong
> with the word "bird".  There is nothing wrong with the taxonomic terms
> "Dinosauria" and "Aves".

I agree. We are saying the exact same thing. There is nothing wrong with any
of these terms. This is why I don't understand the nitpicking over the term
dinosaur here. I don't understand why some consider "dinosaur"
non-scientific. It's just insanity.

> How is it that intelligent people are not understanding that this is the
> same sort of situation?

I have no idea. However, I get the idea that some people feel that the use
of the term "dinosaur" or "bird" indicates that the user is a total moron. I
think everyone on this list has some grasp of the dino-bird relationship. I
don't see the point of bringing up hummingbirds when someone asks about the
smallest of dinosaurs. It's pretty clear (to most of us) what the person
wants to know. So what is the point? To make the poster feel foolish and
think they have to apologize to the list for asking a reasonable question?

> By the same token, The Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs DOES discuss birds, it
> discuss their placement in the dinosaur family tree, and it DOES discuss
> some of the main events in their evolution. 

Of course it does, but as you said, it discusses them in context of the
evolution of Dinosauria. If it did not it would be lacking. My point is if
you open up that book, paleontologist or a wannabe, you will expect to see
subjects on our familiar dinosaurian pals, and not house sparrows.
"Dinosaur" and "bird" do mean different things, even if they are linked
together. No need for some to make another list member feel like an ass for
using those names. It's not the same as someone refering to a tiba as a
"thingamajig" and the rest of us having no clue what they mean because they
are not using reasonable lingo. 

-Sherry Michael

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