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Re: Status of _Caudipteryx_

Sorry if that term offended you. If it of any consolation, I am a self-admitted nit-picker when it comes to some things. I am also sometimes over-opinionated. It's all relative, and such qualities are widespread among humans to some extent. C'est la vie.
In any case, I will nit-pick a little further on Miacidae. If miacid body-form or body-type is to be compared to any living group, the weasels are a much better comparison (and both being Caniforms, more closely related). I just cringe whenever I hear miacids being discussed as if they are primitive cats, either cladistically or even in terms of body-form. That bothers me more than anything Eric said about primitive flightlessness.
---Ken Kinman
From: "Jaime A. Headden" <qilongia@yahoo.com>
Reply-To: qilongia@yahoo.com
To: dinosaur@usc.edu
Subject: Re: Status of _Caudipteryx_
Date: Tue, 2 Jan 2001 21:22:08 -0800 (PST)

  I don't know if Ken intended this to go strait to Eric, rather than
through the list, but I feel rather offended that a personalized
comment "nit-picking" was broadcasted in this manner.


Ken Kinman (kinman@hotmail.com) wrote:

<...a lot of Jaime's commentary on your statements seems like
unnecessary nitpicking. Thus it has wandered so far from the original
subject that I'm already having trouble remembering how it started.>

  The original subject was the utility of colugos as analogous to
"dinobirds" in the use of the term "primitively flightless" which I
disagreed with on more than one field. I got specifically to the point
in my last post, I believe, and made a statement to that effect (e.g.,
"But back to my original point...")

<I was very surprised that Jaime compared "cats" and early Miacids.
Cats (Felidae) are not only a separate family from Miacidae, but the
latest comprehensive mammalian classification (McKenna and Bell, 1997)
doesn't even put Miacidae in the larger grouping called Feliformia.
Miacids are instead placed in Caniformia, and regarded as more closely
related to weasels (or even primitive dogs, bears, etc.). So in my
opinion his argument extrapolating from Miacids to "cats", just doesn't
"fly" (pun intended).>

  Good. My use of miacids and cats was not to indicate one form was any
closer than to another, but to utilized a recognizable basal carnivore
group, and a relatively advanced group (cats were chosen because
they're my favorite mammals, in spite of what the latest comprehensive
evidence shows). I could have picked another group, but given the
disparity of molecular and morphological analyses, I chose to pick an
advanced and a basal group to reflect the idea that however similar a
body type, forms can vary no matter the relative distance, not relative
association. Same for whales, which were used for shock value. The
statements regarding the use of a form similar to a flighted form
(colugos and bats) as being valid for the claim of "primitively
flightless" as originally used in this thread are contradicted by
similar evidence in other groups, where the associations are not so
controversial [where a morphological tree and a molecular tree do not
agree, and there are as many molecular studies that contradict it; I'd
only trust a molecular and morphological tree that _agreed_, and only
then by a hair's breadth].

===== Jaime A. Headden

  Where the Wind Comes Sweeping Down the Pampas!!!!

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