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Re: Avian stem-group (was: BCF)
<As I noted in the Dino Press series of
articles, it is an annoying historical accident that dinosaurs
originally classified as reptiles. They should have been classified
since they actually share more features with birds than they
do with reptiles
(people just didn't know how to classify things in those days).
Now we have
to fight a century and a half of dinosaurs-as-reptiles tradition.>
Yes, took a very long time to pull dinos out of reptiles and
give them their own separate formal group. Now dinos are at
a level with birds and reptiles. Problem is sentiment; why,
do you know there are actually people who want to classify birds
under dinos, diminishing birds as a group, in order to demand
recognition that dinos have descendants?!
Science doesn't work as sentiment. Popularly and scientifically,
you've got your reptiles, you've got your birds, you've got your
dinos. Pure logic and clear definitions always win out.
Me, I think that Jefferson put his finger on the problem. Remember,
he said he was once tempted to consider bones as evidence in
classification schemes, but it led only to arguments. A bird
is not a snake, is not a stegosaur. The glance of the traveler
on horseback is, as Jefferson said, the exemplar of scientific
classification at work.
Aside from looking at most dinos with the technically apt, 'Those
are big honkin' bones', the use of bones is more abstruse than
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