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Re: Living dinosaurs?

Eric Lurio wrote:
<Indeed that's true. But there is a large difference
between, say, a largish forest antelope and a bunyip.
The weirder the large animal the less likely it is to
be found.>

  it is said all myths are based on a _little_ truth,
however obscure that truth might be. People have
assumed that when apporaching a tribe who say some
with legs and a longish body came lumbering through
the Cameroon, it must be some sort of dinosaur, and so
they bring pictures of brontosaurs to identify. Well
... duh! It's like a line-up: you compare to a large
number of similar forms, see which one matches more
closely. Of course they will say Mokele-Mbembe is a
dinosaur, a brontosaur in fact, they have no other
comparative analysis. And hypothetically, you just
might set into the minds of the people looking for
this thing in the Cameroon that they are trying to
find a brontosaur. Hence the movie "Baby." Sometimes
its just a really big snake.

  Hmm. I wonder what all the fuss was about. There's
something big down there, I'd like to know _what_. And
I'll keep an open mind, and wait to be dissapointed;
that way, if I _am_, it won't be as big a let-down, or
as much of a professional stab to the heart as it
might be. Now, if I go there thinking "They report a
really big thing in the jungles ... I want to find out
if the environment may clue to us the prescence of
something really big." That's simple ecological
reasoning, and won't give in to falsification you
won't be too soon to prepare for.

  Do I refer to birds as living dinosaurs? There are
two definitions, as Ken Kinman <kinman@aol.com> points
out: one, the cladistic sense, realizes that birds are
derived from a group that has as its "name"
Dinosauria, so hence in the vernacular, birds are
"dinosaurs." On the otherhand, historic reference
alludes to birds as "birds", which have descended from
dinosaurs, as a vernacular, poly-phyletic whole. Thus,
saying birds are dinosaurs, and birds are descended
from dinosaurs are both correct. Clarify usage of the
vernacular though, and no one will be confused by what
you mean.

Jaime "James" A. Headden

  Dinosaurs are horrible, terrible creatures! Even the
  fluffy ones, the snuggle-up-at-night-with ones. You think
  they're fun and sweet, but watch out for that stray tail
  spike! Down, gaston, down, boy! No, not on top of Momma!

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