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Re: BAD vs. BADD (was: Re: Most popular/common dinosaur misconceptions)
Jaime A. Headden wrote:
>Jura (firstname.lastname@example.org) wrote:
><I’m afraid I don’t quite get what you are saying here. Why is it okay
>a bird a dinosaur, but it’s not okay to call a snake a lizard?
>you seem to be in agreement with Pianka & Vitt on just that, further
> A lizard, unfortunately, entails the idea of a sprawling legged animal.
>Although it is technically correct to refer to snakes as "legless
>which is true almost of moasaurs as well. Additionally, birds are in most
>respects flighted dinosaurs, since there are no flight-worthy dinosaurs
>(powered, that is) that are not also thought of in some way as birds, from
>*Archaeopteryx* or *Ichthyornis* to *Anser* or *Passer*.
But limb reduction has occurred more than 60 times in squamates, once in the
ancestor of snakes and 60+ times in other 'lizards' (I'm including
digit reduction etc., but there are many examples almost as extreme as
And although there have been several proposals regarding the placement
within squamata, no one suggests that they are the sister group of all
lizards, so I think the situation is no different to the bird/dinosaur
I do sometimes talk to the general public about British wildlife, and I
snakes as legless lizards (I don't think legless squamates or
lepidosaurs would be
comprehensible). Many people are surprised to learn that snake ancestors
limbs, and I see no conflict between technical accuracy and educational
quite the opposite.
I recently heard a young biologist tour guide in Mexico describe
parental care as "unusual, for reptiles". However, it is far from
archosaurs, perhaps ancestral, so this is another example where employing
paraphyletic taxa impedes education, in my view.