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Re: BAD vs. BADD (was: Re: Most popular/common dinosaur misconceptions)
A lot of this depends on your intended audience. Compared to the rest of
the developed world, the average American is "science-challenged".
"Science-illiterate", to be more precise.
Phylogenetic nomenclature has one *huge* advantage over classical
(Linnaean) nomenclature: It shakes up the system, it forces lay people
to reevaluate their beliefs, it forces them to go back to the books and
learn new concepts every few years, and it forces them to understand that
science is not a stagnant discipline. Science is not just a bunch of
facts written in a dusty old text book. If "done" correctly, science can
be as volatile as a lit stick of dynamite.
If the average American becomes confused or upset by the term "non-avian
dinosaur", then so be it. That same American probably hasn't heard of
String Theory either, and the Earth hasn't stopped spinning on its axis
because of their ignorance.
On Sat, 19 Aug 2006 22:02:57 -0400 Jamie Stearns <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Just thought I'd add my 2 cents to this...
> Anyway, I honestly don't see the point of arbitrarily separating
> from "dinosaurs."
> Basically, the main reasons for doing so (aside from Feduccia and
> arguments) appear to be:
> a) Birds are so different from non-avian dinosaurs that they should
> placed in a different category, regardless of evolutionary
> b) Birds are not part of the group that people generally perceive as
> "dinosaurs" and thus should not be considered dinosaurs.
> c) Using the term "non-avian dinosaurs" is confusing.
> (If I've missed any, please tell me.)
> Neither of these really seems to hold much water, at least to me.
> a) This statement is somewhat hypocritical. Going from what Holtz
> earlier, Caudipteryx, Velociraptor, Microraptor, Archaeopteryx, and
> birds have more in common than Velociraptor, Tyrannosaurus,
> Parasaurolophus, Triceratops and Stegosaurus do. If birds can't be
> considered dinosaurs, then we might as well break up Dinosauria
> b) As I've said before, the general public holds several
> regarding dinosaurs. Generally their definition of Dinosauria
> things like pterosaurs, plesiosaurs, ichthyosaurs, and Dimetrodon,
> none of
> which are considered dinosaurs at present. In addition, most people
> probably think Caudipteryx and Microraptor were birds if they saw
> reconstructions of them and weren't told anything about what the
> actually were. (I'm just guessing here though)
> c) That term isn't really all that confusing to me. In my opinion,
> terms like "non-mammalian therapsid" to refer to Cynognathus or
> "non-therapsid synapsid" for Dimetrodon is perfectly acceptable
> because it
> more accurately describes the animals. In addition, simply calling
> Tyrannosaurus a dinosaur rather than specifically using "non-avian
> is also acceptable because few people would think T. rex was a
> "Non-tetrapod fish" sounds a bit ridiculous to me, though...
"If you are traveling into the future in a time machine, and you pass a
person from the future who is traveling into the past, it's probably a
good idea to avoid eye contact." - Jack Handey