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Re: Doesn't George have a point?

In a message dated 6/29/00 6:03:39 PM Pacific Daylight Time, 
majestic_cheese@yahoo.com writes:

> Is it in line with
>  prevailing standards of scientific analysis of
>  prehistoric life to hypothesize that birds are
>  dinosaur descendants when the dinosaurs the birds are
>  said to have descended from come after the first birds
>  in the known fossil record?

Yes, it is.  "Prevailing standards of scientific analysis" do not look for 
ancestors; they look for relatives.  To the best of our knowledge, the 
closest relatives of birds are a group of dinosaurs.  The closest outgroup to 
that assemblage is another group of dinosaurs.  All of these in turn are 
related to yet another group of dinosaurs, and so on.  If we assume that the 
group we know as "dinosaurs" had a single common origin and that the ancestor 
of all of them was itself a dinosaur, then birds must be descended from a 

I sincerely hope that made even the least modicum of sense.

Nick P.