[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Re: a rose by any other name(was fish & dogs)



<Ask them if it wouldn't make sense to classify only regular dinosaurs
(non-avian) in Dinosauria, the birds in
Aves, and just put a special marker, like {{Aves}}, within the Dinosauria
classification next to the dinosaurs which the birds evolved from.>

Tell them also that the special marker shows that you have chosen to give
this group a special name.
The choice to assign names, as with reptilia, is a choice, and even when
that choice follows clear and consistent rules, a 'philosophy', those rules
have themselves been chosen.  An alternative would have to be as logical...
and get enough votes.

An HP with the nom de plume of Oscar Quill observed:
<What is boils down to, at least as far as I can tell, is a bunch of lazy
social biases.  It's simpler to not refer to birds as archosaurs, or
dinosaurs, or diapsids, even it is funny at thanksgiving.
But that doesn't change the reality of it, and there's
absolutely no real reason to not call birds dinosaurs...>

The underlying question is the degree to which scientific logic should
respond to everyday logic.  The alternative to 'lazy social biases', as has
been observed in other posts, is pettifogging elitism.  (Okay, I admit
nobody used those words; not sure anyone will again.)  Simply, the majority
idea is that birds are very different from anything else extant, and
'deserve' to have a separate designation.  The resemblance to comparatively
obscure dinos can be considered more an evolutionary history issue than an
essential element of grouping.
Given that the grouping decisions are better/worse rather than true/false
types, the question then becomes whether to acknowledge the popular, what
used to be called vulgar, approach to identifying groups or attempt to
change it.
My instinct is to say 'bend a bit', but I don't really know how much
violence that would do to the utility of classifying.  I'm learning.  Can
there be a split between the scientific and popular conventions, which is
one compromise, or will hostility result from the mutual recognition of
different ways of thinking?  I'm learning about that too.

When HP Holtz (by the way, if I could do over my post on 'It's the economy,
stupid!', I would substitute HP for Mr.; sorry) said:
What anatomical features or morphological gap separates birds and their kin?
Most of the classics (feathers, furculae, pygostyle, toothless beaks, etc.)
are either
more widely distributed among theropods than previously known or are not
present in _Archaeopteryx_ and other basal forms classically considered
"birds.">
I wonder if this argument from fuzzy examples at the margins should be
considered controlling?  Are there any other animals which might or might
not fit into a different, more universally accepted group?

By the way (again), I would appreciate clarification on why Archaeopteryx is
included in the bird definition.  If I say I am descended from my grandaunt
Katherine (who did not have children) and the 4 family names of my
grandparents, my lineage among people, this seems an inconsistency.
Assuming Archie has no living descendants, why include Archaeopteryx and not
any other specific species?

Definitely contentious issues, as shown by all the contention.  Also
enjoyable.  Thanks.