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Re: birds are birds, dogs are dogs

I agree. Let's keep it scientific. Aves ARE Dinosauria. :-)
Just don't expect the rest of the world to say birds ARE dinosaurs. Most don't want to be saddled with all that cladistic "context" spilling over into the vernacular. That birds are dinosaur descendants (using dinosaur in its traditional paraphyletic sense) is context enough for most non-biologists. And most of them (and many biologists as well) don't like cladists insisting that the vernacular meaning of "dinosaurs" and "reptiles" be changed. Just because you believe paraphyly is a "sin" (so to speak) doesn't mean everyone else has to go along with you, and I wouldn't expect the backlash to go away anytime soon.
P.S. I guess I should have said Aves "probably" ARE Dinosauria (sorry about that Dinogeorge). :-)
From: "T. Mike Keesey" <tmk@dinosauricon.com>
Reply-To: tmk@dinosauricon.com
To: Ken Kinman <kinman@hotmail.com>
CC: -Dinosaur Mailing List- <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Subject: Re: birds are birds, dogs are dogs
Date: Fri, 1 Dec 2000 14:01:32 -0500 (EST)

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).

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