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Re: diminutive dinosaurs

 The person asking the question was, I
> think, more interested if any
> dinosaurs might have been diminutive for other
> reasons. 

I was indeed. Perhaps if I take theropods out of the
equation, then we don't have a problem. 

So, diminutive ornithischians and sauropods... 
all of Ken's comments stand. Anyway, I guess it is a
moot issue, more in the realms of speculation than
palaeontology (Although in my experience there is
sometimes a little overlap!). It seems biologically
possible for, say, a minute sauropod to occupy a small
lizards niche, given enough time to evolve.
Furthermore, A sauropod in a lizard niche would
naturally become lizard-like, and would taxonomically
be distinct from sauropods sensu stricto, in the same
way that the Aves are taxonomically distinct (but see
ongoing discussion!) from non-avian theropods. What
the hell am I talking about! 

I guess the answer to the original question is:

YES, it is 'possible' that tiny dinosaurs (apart from
birds) existed. 

A problem with a crown-group definition of birds (and
crown-groups as a whole) is that it is forever-
changing and ultimately doomed. I study plesiosaurs.
If a crown-group definition was applied in the Late
Cretaceous, this would be quite large. Today, the
crown group Plesiosauria contains exactly zero taxa so
a crown group/ stem group divide has no application
today. The same will occur for birds eventually.
Although one of the aims of taxonomy is longevity and
stability, only the most hardcore taxonomists would
worry about this issue!



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