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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
back.]

Ahem.

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