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Re: SCIENCE AND CLASSIFICATION



<What's your simple, precise definition of _Aves_? Or are you just trying to
define "bird"?>

Perfect snapshot of the difference that we're talking about!
Why does Aves have to be different from 'bird'?  There are social advantages
to not having any difference, to keeping the general public and scientists
as close to consistent as possible.
The definition you present:
"The most recent common ancestor of _Archaeopteryx lithographica_ ans
_Passer domesticus_, plus all of its descendants,"
does include the animals we see out the window, in Passer domesticus, but
you add two components:
Archaeopteryx lithographica - an ancient, extinct species asserted into the
statement; and
the mrca - an unknown animal currently inferred to have certain
character(istic)s.
Sorry about the missing italics.
The issue we're looking at is whether these additions communicate enough to
scientists that they should formulate a terminology separate from that used
by the public.  Naming conventions are a form of communication, and not in
themselves scientific analysis.
Remembering that all the analysis anyone wants to do is not prevented by
using the simpler definition, why create a conflict?
If you have to use shorthand for a theory of relationships, why not say
something like Aves, Upton 2000 or Aves, Downton, 2001?  Then those who want
to argue clades have their opportunity.  (And I, whose knowledge of the
details is minor, cease to contribute, and listen.)
I'm still feeling that 'those feathered things that crap on my car' should
be in there somewhere, but it's hard to find a technical justification.