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Re: Sheesh

On 10/24/06, Mike Taylor <mike@indexdata.com> wrote:
T. Michael Keesey writes:

[*Draws deep breath*.  Please excuse me, Mike, I am not getting at you
particularly but this message is the straw that breaks this camel's


ALL RIGHT!  We GET IT!  We ALL UNDERSTAND that birds are dinosaurs.

Now can we please -- just occasionally -- have a conversation where,
when someone uses the word "dinosaur" in a context where is very, very
obviously means "non-avian dinosaur", they are allowed to do so
without half a dozen people leaping down their throats waving their
big cladistic banners?

But I think this raises a larger point, i.e., what is so interesting about non-avian dinosaurs as a group? Sure, the assemblage has *cultural* and *historical* significance, but in purely scientific terms, it's generally not that important. Using it here obscures the interesting phenomenon, I think. The non-aquatic paraphyletic group is not non-avian Dinosauria, but non-ornithuran Avemetatarsalia (or, if you prefer, Panaves); limiting it to the former ignores the fact that the group extends to pterosaurs (probably), basal dinosauromorphs, archaeopterygids, confuciusornithids, enantiornitheans, etc. (Well, unless the last three are considered non-avian ... another pitfall of the term "non-avian dinosaur" is that "Aves" has about half a dozen different definitions, as discussed here: http://www.phylonames.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=19 .) -- T. Michael Keesey The Dinosauricon: http://dino.lm.com Parry & Carney: http://parryandcarney.com