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Re: Tetanurae

Mike Keesey wrote:

I really don't see why this is a problem. If abelisaurs are tetanurans, then they're tetanurans.

Yes, Mickey M. feels the same way. True, as a stem- err... branch-based clade, Tetanurae is an idea as much as a category. The fact that you both agree makes me re-think this. But I think Sereno's "stability of content" is important here.

Apart from the problems raised by you and Tim, it's kind of ridiculous to base a clade whose name means "stiff tails" on a manual character! If _Tetanurae_ were to be apomorphy-based at all (which is probably not a great idea), it should be based on a caudal character.

Apomorphy-based definitions for any clade are a bad idea, IMHO. They're a little too close for comfort to those old "key" characters used in pre-cladistic days. But to give credit where credit's due, Gauthier & de Queiroz's (2001) apomorphy-based clades are at least named after the same characters they denote (Avialae, Aviremigia, etc).



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