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Re: Dumb Names (Prolacertiformes?)



Thecodontia may be "stable", but it's also rather useless and potentially
misleading. There aren't really any good features that unite the whole
group. It is a "wastebasket" taxon because it's where people put
archosaurs (_sensu lato_) if they weren't pterosaurs, dinosaurs, or
crocodilians; IOW, if they didn't know where else to put them. Imagine
erecting a group for all mammals except for xenarthrans, ungulates, and
chiropterans -- that's about as useful.

Simply because the exact phylogenetic relationships aren't currently
well-understood is no reason to lump them all in a paraphyletic taxon,
especially when the relationships of some of them (e.g. basal
_Dinosauromorpha_) *are* fairly well-understood. Better to refer to the
hazier ones as "non-archosaurian _Archosauromorpha_" or "basal
_Archosauromorpha_" than lump them into a taxon that will need to be
dismantles once relationships are well-understood.

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T. MICHAEL KEESEY
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