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Re: warm-bloodedness



Timothy Williams wrote:

I don't see why or how you would consider the "phenetic" difference >between a sparrow and an ostrich to be greater than that between >_Tyrannosaurus_ and _Diplodocus_. Yet, under Linnaean (and Kinman-
ian) taxonomy, there are a multitude of bird "orders", yet the array >of theropods and sauropods all get funneled into a single order, the >Saurischia (or Saurischiformes).

This may be a somewhat naive statement, and covered on the list before, but many of the higher level classifications seem to have a lot of gray area. Particularly with the introduction of cladistic methodology, taxonomic groupings (such as family, order, etc.) seem to be rather fluid. The best analogy that I can think of is one of a sliding bar--to create a grouping in a monophyletic lineage, you simply slide the bar along the "branch" until you reach a level of inclusivity that "looks" to be a family or whatever taxonomic group you're erecting. That brings us back to the old argument that merging Linnaean classification with cladistic methods can be an exercise in futility. But enough quibbling by me. . .back to real science (and no, I'm not trying to create a debate on whether classification is a real science or not)!


On a lighter note. . .When reading about "the array of theropods and sauropods" I can't help but remember Ralph Chapman's mother's comment on "all the meat eaters looking the same" (my apologies to Tim or any theropod fans on the last).

But seriously. . .I'm doing a good amount of work here at the Smithsonian on species richness and accumulation curves and the like. It would be cool to take some of the good bonebed data (Mike Triebold's Sandy Site or a similar accumulation) and do some statistical work with it, in the vein of current ecological studies. Just a thought. . .

Also, a thank you to all those who responded to my query of last week on specimen lists.

Andy Farke
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