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Re: birds and avians again



On Fri, 31 Aug 2001 ELurio@aol.com wrote:

> In a message dated 8/31/01 5:35:35 PM, jodan99@uol.com.br writes:
>
> << This is an endless discussion.
>
> We have:
>
> 1) the vernacular definition of Aves
>
> 2) the Linnean definition of Aves = feathered, winged, WARM-blooded
> oviparous vertebrates

What about kiwis? _Caudipteryx_?

> 3) the cladistic-genetic definition of Aves
>
> 1 and 2 are virtually the same, unless we consider bats as birds in some
> languages and cultures.
>
> 3 is almost impossible to define. >>
>
> No, 1 and 2 are exactly the same. There are no science books in ANY language
> that condsider bats to be birds.

He was referring to vernacular usage. (And I've heard laypeople refer to
pterosaurs as birds, too.) So I would say they are not the same. One is a
nebulous informal usage, the other adheres to some scientific principles
(although it is still a bit more nebulous than the cladistic definition).

> The cladistic defintion of Aves is: An unimportant offshoot of the
> much cooler dinosaur family which somehow managed to survive the K/T
> boundry intact.

Amusing, but for the record, the one most used is "the most exclusive
clade containing _Archaeopteryx_ and [insert any modern bird genus here --
I usually use _Passer_]". And there are other dinosaurs less cool than
birds -- basal ornithopods, for example.

(Just kidding, Pete!)

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