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Re: Coelurus a maniraptoran (for how long?)



In a message dated 6/5/01 8:00:27 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
kinman@hotmail.com writes:


     On a more humorous note, having Dromaeosauridae, Rahonavis, and
Archaeopteryx, all jumping backwards so many nodes over the heads of the
already dizzy ornithomimids, may drive them totally nuts or to finally
demand that cladists stop using them as specifiers for such unstable
clades.

HP Kinman, I know this was a joke, but I think it is also an opportune moment
to point out that we're all asking the same questions here, just in different
ways.

Under PT, the question is no longer "does Maniraptora exist?" (meaning: do
the taxa I have in mind when I use the term "Maniraptora" form a monophyletic
group?).  

Maniraptora exists, by definition.  There will always be *something* in the
set {all organisms phylogenetically closer to _Ornithomimus_ than to
Neornithes}, as long as _Ornithomimus_ is not itself a member of Neornithes.  
The question is now "Are
dromaeosaurs/oviraptorosaurs/carcharodontosaurids/crocodiles/pterosaurs/turtle

s/starfish/comb jellies/cyanobacteria members of Maniraptora?"

That said, cladistic surprises can lead to some rather inappropriate clade
names--and yes, for me, that's important.  For that reason, I would favor the
use (exclusively?) of eponymous clade names.  If only taxa are used in the
definition, then perhaps it's best if only taxa are used in the name.

--Nick P.
 13 in a row for the Mariners!  Woo-hoo!