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R: SCIENCE AND CLASSIFICATION




>
> Dear All,
>       Virtually everyone (scientists and the public alike) accepts
> Archaeopteryx as a bird and member of Aves.

***As others have mentioned, the problem here, although some of you seem to
think otherwise, is not laypeople' opinion;  considering some maniraptorans'
position relative to Aves is not, in any way, a thing many non-professional
(or just deeply interested) people would ever care about. This is just an
idea of mine, but I think it's pretty realistic. I'm not saying that this is
good, only that it's how things are and the only problem here is that people
trying to make this apper as central in this discussion, are just(IMHO)
looking for a way to gain support for their proposals (not only referring to
Ken in this Particular case, but in general to the "abuse" of the layman's
figure and intellectual position).

Actually, just to get into this particular case, I don't even think the
great majority of people out here know what Archaeopteryx was(again, this is
not terrible, but...), so saying that "Virtually everyone (scientists and
the public alike) accepts
Archaeopteryx as a bird and member of Aves" is, to the best, ingenuous.
[Anyway,it's just a particular,right?[

It would be "honest" to recognize this and not propose changes because they
would be "readily accepted", while there would not even be the actual
awareness of a change having taken place(talking about laypeople, obviously)


 >If they accept it, they will
> probably readily accept the inclusion of other forms with "vaned" feathers
> and which laid ornithoid eggs.

Ok, just ask someone you see in the street if it would be wise, for him/her,
to include ornithoid-eggs laying  and vane-feathered bearing dinosaurs into
an enlarged Aves and begin calling them birds.....



>I don't see any big problems on this front.
>        The only real problem may be a handful of people who want a crown
> group Aves like Gauthier (is Norell et al. now joining him on that?).

The _only_ real problem is to figure out why a node should be moved on the
tree only because the point you're moving it to is separated from the more
basal forms by an unnatural gap caused by -you know- the reality of
preservation and discovery.

Now,even an only marginally interested person can understand, if not the
unclear phylogeny of the basal avians/ non-avian maniraptorans "group", at
least the fact that there's such an assemblage(portion of the tree) and,
more importantly, that there's some  problematics behind this all.  At this
point I cannot see any _good_ reason for which you should decide to move
Aves down the tree, only because it seems to you that the new group is more
clearly defined by morphological boundaries than the one _now_ called Aves.

>My
> expansion makes more sense than their implosion of Aves.
>                ------ Ken Kinman

***** implosion??  I had thought that had been quite a stable node, even if
not formally defined as the clade containing Archaeopteryx , Passer their
mrca etc etc....hadn't it?

Filippo Calzolari