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Re: Sheesh

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

I hate to disagree with you, Tom, but -- well -- I disagree. I don't see how this is any different from asking "I wonder why no fish developed the ability to suckle their young". If someone asked that question, I wouldn't expect to see responses saying "One subclade did", referring to Mammalia.

But how is this an interesting question? Surely the more interesting question is, "I wonder why only certain synapsids* developed the ability to suckle their young?"

* Lactation probably goes deeper than just Mammalia. Under the latest
draft of the PhyloCode, the clade of suckling synapsids could be
referred to as "Apo-Mammalia", although it's far from certain what
that would contain besides Mammalia. Incidentally, some columbiforms
produce crop milk, although I'm not sure that the young would be
considered to "suckle".

Just like "fish", the word "dinosaur" is an informal term that
everyone understands to represent a paraphyletic group.

That's not how I understand it. (Except in older or dated contexts, of course. As for nonscientific contexts, I submit that more often it refers to "extinct animal", "big, scaly reptile", "big monster", or even "antiquated thing" than specifically to "non-avian dinosaur".)

        Spock or Data is fired from his high-ranking position
        for not being able to understand the most basic
        nuances of about one in three sentences that anyone
        says to him.

Folks, we don't have to be like that.

I understood the original intent--I just found it to be off the mark.

This is a scientific discussion forum--we're *supposed* to be precise!
T. Michael Keesey
The Dinosauricon: http://dino.lm.com
Parry & Carney: http://parryandcarney.com