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Re: maniraptor taxonomy, etc.




>Yes.  A good idea, but it only solves one small problem.  Call me
>old-fashioned, but I just prefer "characterizing" taxa rather than
>"defining" them.  Both approaches have drawbacks, but I think the >former
is best for the long term.  Mammalia based on the three >auditory ossicles
is far more useful than one anchored on fossil-poor >monotremes (in the
past, present, and the forseeable future).


    Why?  What happens if when we find a primitive "mammal" or group of
mammals that seems to have three sort of but not quite ear ossicles?  Are
they "kind of" mammals?  How fully adapted do the bones have to be for
hearing before it becomes a mammal?  What happens when you get a fossil form
where the condition of the ear ossicles is debatable?  Did taxonomists using
morphological defintions really agree any better about the membership of
groups before phylogenetic taxonomists came along?

LN Jeff

He who stops at being better stops being good.
-Oliver Cromwell

Fear not those who argue but those who dodge.
-Marie von Ebner Eschenbach

Jeffrey W. Martz
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