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RE: Dinosaur a tecnical term; fish is not (was RE: Fish with milk (Sheesh spinoff))



Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. writes:
>>> But also, to be fair, "fish" is an ancient English word far
>>> predating the science of biology, while "dinosaur" is a term from
>>> technical literature, dates only to 1842, and created specifically
>>> for use in scientific contexts.
>> 
>> I suppose the next step will be insisting that all bilaterians are
>> worms ...
> 
> Actually, that is NOT the next step from the point I was just making
> (i.e., that the word "dinosaur" was ONLY coined for a technical
> taxonomic context, just like "plesiosaur" or "entelodont" or
> "cnidarian".

I know I'm flogging a deal bilaterian here, but ...

It is true that the word "dinosaur" was originally coined for a
technical taxonomic content.  But that content, as of the original
coinage, most surely did not include birds.  And as knowledge of
dinosaur diversity has grown in the time since to encompass, for
example, sauropods, the _scientific_ meaning of the name "dinosaur"
quickly settled on its classic content, which remained unchanged for a
century or more before this new-fangled move to co-opt the word to
name a different group.

All this is to say that if you want "dinosaur" to be interpreted
cladistically, then an appeal to its history is surely not a good
way to achieve that.

Same problem applies with reptiles, of course.

 _/|_    ___________________________________________________________________
/o ) \/  Mike Taylor    <mike@indexdata.com>    http://www.miketaylor.org.uk
)_v__/\  "But what is it good for?" -- Engineer at the Advanced Computing
         Systems Division of IBM, 1965 commenting on the microchip.