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Re: birds are birds, dogs are dogs
On Fri, 1 Dec 2000, Ken Kinman wrote:
> Unlike dinosaurology, strict cladism hasn't made the same inroads into
> disciplines like entomology, so you are unlikely to hear the insect
> equivalents, like "fleas are scorpionflies" or "termites are cockroaches".
These aesthetic arguments seem to often ignore one thing: terms like
"scorpionfly" and "cockroach" (and "fish" in the common "cows are fish"
argument) are vernacular, and the definitions are mandated by common usage
among all speakers of English. Terms like "Mecoptera" and "Blattaria" (and
"Vertebrata" [and "Dinosauria"]) are non-vernacular, scientific terms, and
the definitions are mandated by taxonomists (English-speaking or not).
T. MICHAEL KEESEY
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