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Re: Rock'n'roll !
Actually, in my opinion, using non-ranking cladistic terminology is what
allows Aves to remain essentially intact. You understand that birds are
dinosaurs in the same way they are archosaurs, reptiles, and diapsids. But
if you insist on using a Linnean based ranking classification system, then I
have to insist that birds be removed from class status and be a suborder of
Why? Because it better reflects morphological diversity. Sure, birds
are the most diverse group of dinosaurs, but so are rodents within the
mammalia, and nobody suggests they should have their own class. Flight is
obviously unimportant, as bats don't have a class of their own. Feathers,
airsacs, beaks, endothermy, and all the other characters that has been used
to define Aves are either definantly or very likely to be present in other
dinosaurs. Birds have at least as much in common with sauropods and
thyreophorans as bats do with proboscideans, tubilidentates, and monotremes.
So as I see it, strict cladistics comes closest to preserving the
traditionalist view of birds, since they are then dinosaurs in the same way
you are a vertebrate. If we are going to attempt to preserve the linnean
system (I wouldn't) then it has to mean something, in which case there is
really no way to save class Aves.
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