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Re: Feduccia's delusion

ELurio@aol.com wrote:

> Well, Feduccia is a paleoorthinologist, and he never liked the denigration of
> birds by dino fans. Birds, they say, aren't just Dinosaurs, they're
> REPTILES!!!! Jeez!!!

Denigration?  Allow me to explain my feelings to you.

As one of the many who are swayed by the mountain of evidence linking birds to
the dinosaurs, I do not see birds as being "merely" reptiles any more than I see
humans as "merely" synapsids.  In each case (different as we are) these extant
members of ancient lineages are so highly derived as to be "special" in anyone's
book.  Indeed, the nesting of birds within the incredibly diverse and successful
group we call dinosaurs gives me a much stronger appreciation of birds than I 
in the dark ages when I didn't understand such things.

Why would the unsubstantiated opinion that birds must be derived from some
mysterious unknown group of non-theropod REPTILES make them superior in some
way?  I fail to see why some people still cling to all of the arbitrary details
of Linnaean taxonomy, which was laid out long before there was enough
paleontological material and analysis available for complex evolutionary 
of vertebrates to be revealed.  I'm all for an appreciation of the history of
scientific thought, but I think that it is time for everyone to wake up and 
the fossil record.  How about a little respect for the evidence?

Besides, I take considerable comfort in the idea that a small group of derived
dinosaurs -- the birds -- somehow survived the KT mass extinction to enhance our
world with their contributions to the earth's biodiversity , not to mention 
beauty and music.  It is now up to us to protect these remarkable living
dinosaurs from the threat of extinction due to human activity.  I do not lack
respect for the birds.  They are a continuous source of fascination for me and 
cat, Pippin, (who stays indoors, I'll have you know).

Ralph W. Miller III   ralph.miller@alumni.usc.edu