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Re: New AVES definition refined (more testable?)



In a message dated 2/7/02 9:35:49 AM Eastern Standard Time, 
kinman@hotmail.com writes:

>      However, I am convinced that the case for "enigmosaur" paraphyly is at 
>  least as strong as it is for holophyly, and there may be some surprises 
for 
>  those who are drawing definitive conclusions before rigorous testing is 
>  done.  

Taking your last point first, rigorous testing *has* been done, and for the 
moment, it (or at least some of it) supports monophyly of 
oviraptorosaurs+therizinosaurs.

But that's beside the point.  The people on this list have not been attacking 
your *conclusions*.  Heaven knows, I don't blame you for doubting the 
oviraptorosaur-therizinosaur connection.  It may very well be incorrect, and 
even if it is correct, it is not immediately obvious.  No one is "drawing 
definitive conclusions" here.

No, what upsets people around here is your *methods*: specifically, making 
Pronouncements From On High about both phylogeny and taxonomy based on a few 
specific characters from a few specific taxa, while refusing to consider the 
totality of evidence (e.g. whether a character can be easily defined, whether 
a character appears to have evolved so many times independently that it 
becomes phylogenetically uninformative, whether a character may vary 
ontogenetically or among individuals, etc., etc., etc.).

And, lest anyone question my fitness to sit up on my high horse, yes, there 
was a time when I made my fair share of Pronouncements (see archives from the 
1995-96 period)--some of which actually turned out to be correct, 
incidentally.  But I was in *college*, for cryin' out loud.

</rant>

--Nick P.