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Re: Dinosaur Genera List update #192

My dear John: dinogeorge specifically states:
"Nondinosaurian: bird". This statement is quite clear:
dinogeorge is promulgating the pseudoscience that
dinosaurs do not include "birds", and that "birds" are
not theropods. I suggested "avian theropod" as a
loose, vernacular description of the specimen to
parallel/correct dinogeorge's "bird".  However, to be
more concise, I would prefer Maniraptora incertae
sedis or, better still, Avifilopluma incertae sedis.
If dinogeorge believes "birds" are not dinosaurs,
then, as I suggested, it is time for him to present a
detailed analysis of the 200 + synapomorphies
elucidated since 1984 (when Jacques Gauthier first
formulated the various paradigms), rebutting the
evidence. He has not, because, like others, he cannot.
dinogeorge is, it would appear, an acolyte of the
"falsificationist approach" (cf. Peter
Makovicky/Gareth Dyke's 2001 paper for an analysis),
which, more often than, projects extant, embryological
characters of extant dinosaurs (65myr later) onto
earlier, "basal" taxa to show alleged (nonexistent, to
be sure) discrepancies, assuming that, once appearing,
characters in a gene pool of a breeding population of
animals are not reversible...forgetting that evolution
is a process, that, for 65 million years, avialan
dinosaurs have evolved further since the K/T events
(just as dinosaurs had evolved for 200+ million years
before K/T).  I do not think using the word "bird", in
the context of a discussion of theropod systematics,
means one is separating "bird" from Theropoda, unless
one specifically states "bird" is not theropod (as
dinogeorge has done here, and in other contexts), in
which case the discussion switches from systematics to
paleoastrology (the wish that, somehow, "bird" is
"special", is not really a dinosaur; the wish is
futile: "birds" are nothing more, nothing less, than
living, feathered theropods). It is dinogeorge who is
propogating the pseudoscience in his placement of the
taxon as "nondinosaurian" because it is a "bird".
Further, cladistic analyses of Archaeovolans (plain
text does not allow me to italicize the genus,
alas)will, perhaps (if other, more complete specimens
are located and described), allow a more precise
positioning of it within Avifilopluma.
And so...dinogeorge, for years, has wanted his
dinosaurs to be separate from "bird", linguistically
and phylogenetically. This is not dinosaur science,
nor science.

--- John Conway <john_conway@mac.com> wrote:
> On Saturday, September 7, 2002, at 08:34  PM,
> Stephan Pickering wrote:
> > Re: ARCHAEOVOLANS below. You [Dinogeorge] write:
> >    Nondinosaurian: bird.
> > This is scientifically incorrect,
> Not if one is using Linnean nomenclature.
> > and not supportable
> > by any evidentiary standards of phylogenetic
> analysis
> > (either osteological or soft anatomy).
> > It should read: Avian theropod.
> We have had this "avian theropod" thing out before,
> but here it goes 
> again. Why are these  two particular clades the
> "right" ones? Why not 
> "maniraptoran saurischians" or "archosaurian
> vertebrates"?
> We have a more serious problem here, what clade are
> you referring to 
> when you use the term  "avian"? Aves? Archaeovolens
> is almost certainly 
> not part of the clade you have recently argued
> should rightfully bear 
> the name "Aves".
> Stephan, you seem to be in a nomenclatural mess,
> arguing that people 
> should use term "avian theropod" instead of "bird" ,
> when it is far 
> from clear what you mean by
> "avian".
> So, clear this up for us: what is an "avian"? Is
> Archaeopteryx? How 
> about Confuciusornis? When you use it are you
> refering to a particular 
> clade, or is it just vernacular?
> > There have not existed, and do not exist now, taxa
> > which can be described as a "nondinosaurian"
> > "bird[s]".
> There are such taxa - linnean ones - and however
> much we disagree (I am 
> on your side on this) we must recognize that such
> groups are used by 
> many good scientists.
> > There are nonavian dinosaurs, indeed, but one
> cannot
> > use the vernacular word "bird", somehow divorcing
> its
> > phylogeny from other theropods (200
> synapomorphies, if
> > not considerably more, disprove your wording,
> placing
> > avian dinosaurs within Maniraptora).
> Why does using the word "bird" divorce their
> phylogeny from other 
> theropods for you Stephan? Why should it, when using
> terms like 
> "duckbill" does not preclude hadrosaurids from being
> part of larger 
> clades?
> Let us try to keep a clear understanding of what
> issues are 
> phylogenetic, and which are nomenclatural or
> linguistic. The word 
> 'bird" does not preclude inclusion in a larger
> group, and has no 
> bearing on arguments about phylogeny, as you seem to
> be implying.
> John Conway, Palaeoartist
> "All art is quite useless." - Oscar Wilde
> Systematic ramblings:
> http://homepage.mac.com/john_conway/
> Palaeoart:
> http://homepage.mac.com/john_conway/_palaeoart.html

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