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Re: SCIENCE AND CLASSIFICATION



In a message dated Tue, 5 Feb 2002  7:26:53 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
"philidor11" <philidor11@snet.net> writes:

> Expressed that way, no problem at all.
> We've agreed birds have a permanent, identical definition in the vernacular
> and scientifically.

No, we haven't.  We've established that the scientific term Aves and the 
vernacular term "bird" encompass the same set of living entities.  Aves is 
still *defined* as "the most recent common ancestor of _Archaeopteryx_ and 
modern birds and all of its descendants".  The lexicosemantics of "bird" 
probably vary somewhat even among individual speakers.


Debate over classification of fossil animals will not,
> cannot change the definition.

I guess I agree with that (see above).  Such debate may, however, change the 
set of entities to which the definition applies.


> On the close calls, whatever isn't a bird is
> a dinosaur

As is everything that *is* a bird...

--Nick P.