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Non-serpentine lacertids (was RE:WHAT'S GOING ON?)

"Matthew Troutman" <m_troutman@hotmail.com> wrote:
> <<Making fun, explicitly or implicitly, of those who don't specify 
> "non-avian  dinosaurs" should realize that it is not longer humorous, >and 
the point they may trying to make is counterproductive.  Alex was >looking for
information, and all he got was implicit criticism, and I >don't think this is
> I haven't read the message that read up to this, so I won't comment on it.
> Anyway, saying "non-avian dinosaurs" is the scientfically accurate way >of
describing what classical dinosaurs are.  By not including birds >within
dinosaurs we are going back to the days of typology where birds >were seperate
from everything else on the planet (as were dinosaurs).  We >most express
things they way that they are, evolutionarily.  To exclude >birds from
dinosaurs, not being in keeping with the evidence at hand and >certainly  not
looking at it evolutionarily.
> Matt Troutman


I agree with this up to a point. While, yes we should look at things from an
evolutionary perspective, going around calling tyrannosaurs and ceratopians
"non-avian dinosaurs" is both confusing and unwarranted.

Consider this; snakes have a lacertilian ancestry. We can find many
synapomorphic traits with snakes and other lizards and we can propose a
variety of evolutionary lines for how they developed.

Now, cladistically snakes are lizards, just like birds are dinosaurs, yet no
one in herpetology or even vertebrate paleo (least not to my knowledge), goes
around calling snakes lizards and calling all other lizards "non-serpentine
lacertids" and for good reason. It's confusing and not really needed. 

I do agree that there are places for the term non-avian and even
non-serpentine, but these should only be used in areas where you do get the
muddy creatures. The toss ups between bird and dino or lizards and snake. I
don't think that one should call all dinosaurs or even all theropods
"non-avian", just like how we don't call varanids or other lizards
"non-serpentine" (though I suppose if BCF turns out to be true then it might
warrant something like that, but then that's a nomenclatural problem for
another time).

To summarize,  a sauropod is a dinosaur, ankylosaurs are dinosaurs,
psittaciformes are birds and so are falconiformes.

_Caudipteryx_ and _Rahonavis_ are non-avian and/or avian theropods (or better
yet, non-avian/avian maniraptorans).

A varanid is a lizard, an iguana is a lizard. Viperids are snakes and so are

_Pachyrachis_ and _Haasiophis_ are prime candidates for
non-serpentine/serpentine lacertids (mosasaurines or some other, preferably
more inclusive term).


Jurassosaurus's Reptipage: A page devoted to the study of the reptilia:


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