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Phylogeny vs. taxonomy, and the Fightin' Dinos exhibit at AMNH (was RE: Rock'n'roll !)



Eric Lurio wrote:
>In a message dated 8/9/00 10:08:32 AM, kinman@hotmail.com writes:

<< Tony,
    If you ask a strict cladist, he (or she) will probably answer that there
are still dinosaurs living----namely  birds.
     Many of the rest of us would say that birds are "dinosaur descendants",
but that we choose not to call them dinosaurs.>>

> How come when I said pretty much the same thing I got slammed six ways to
> sunday and got kicked off temporarily for "flaming?"

But Eric, you did not say "pretty much the same thing".

Ken is writing that he would agree that birds are the descendants of
dinosaurs (a statement of phylogeny), but that it is inappropriate to
classify birds as a type of dinosaur (a statement of taxonomy).

You argued that birds are not the descendants of dinosaurs: again, a
statement of phylogeny

Welcome back.

By the way, a chance to remark on the Fighting Dinosaurs exhibit at the
American Museum:
Got to see the display yesterday (along with Greg Paul, Matt Lamanna, Josh
Smith, Bob Walters, Tess Kissinger & Bruce Mohn).
Excellent, excellent fossils.  Okay, ornithischian fans will find it wanting
(a nice growth series of _Protoceratops_ and a _Pinacosaurus_ skull), but
very good lizards, mammals, and coelurosaurs.  The latter include:
        Two large nesting oviraptorids: Big Mama and an undescribed one.  Very 
good
clear ossified uncinate processes on the undescribed one.
        The "love bird" oviraptorids.
        The skull of a tall crested oviraptorid.
        The type skull of _Velociraptor mongoliensis_ and a new _Velociraptor_
skeleton.
        A new robust-skulled dromaeosaur (only the skull on display).
        A troodontid nest with hatchling bones.
        The type _Byronosaurus_ snout.
        The type of _Shuvuuia_, including postcranial material.
and, one that was new to me:
        A new taxon of small coelurosaur (not much bigger than _Rahonavis_ or
_Archaeopteryx_) with a troodontid-like postcranium and teeth, but
(apparently) without a postorbital (a la the condition in birds).  In fact,
the skull of this creature is very similar to Chatterjee's reconstruction of
_Protoavis_!!
Of course, the fighting dinosaur pair themselves.
Also, so feathery reconstructions of the coelurosaurs (I like the _Shuvuuia_
color patterns), a CG reconstruction of the Fight.

Two major drawbacks with the exhibit: it is expensive to get into ($15 for
the museum + this exhibit), and the lighting is horrible (so much so that
some of the signage is unreadable).

Still, definitely worth it.

                Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                Vertebrate Paleontologist
Department of Geology           Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland          College Park Scholars
                College Park, MD  20742
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholtz/tholtz.htm
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~jmerck/eltsite
Phone:  301-405-4084    Email:  tholtz@geol.umd.edu
Fax (Geol):  301-314-9661       Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-314-7843