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Re: What is biomechanics? (or, The Truth About Flying Snakes - Wa s: Re: science and philosophy)

Brian Lauret wrote:

> Large myrmecophages are always mammals in these regions while the only 
> really small myrmecophagous mammal is the neortropical dwarf anteater. 

And the juveniles of larger ant-eating mammals.  They have to eat too.

Colin McHenry wrote: 

> If cladistics was the be-all-and-end-all of phylogenetic 
> analysis then why hasn't there been a definitive answer to the 
> question of what animals birds evolved from.  

The fossil record is very rarely generous enough to tell us *exactly* which
species are directly ancestral - for any group.  The best we can do is
identify sister taxa.  On this score, cladistic analyses in recent years
have been remarkably consistent in identifying the deinonychosaurs as the
sister group (i.e. closest known relative)s to birds.  Any confusion on this
score is usually the result of efforts to "muddy the waters" - such as by
folks who prefer purely intuitive phylogenies over rigorous analyses of
character distribution.