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



At 11:42 AM 26/10/2006, dinoboygraphics@aol.com wrote:
What is so hard about accepting that tetratpods are abberrant, primatively land-going sarcopterygian fish?

Nothing, I should think, depending on what you are talking about. There are practical limitations to the use of zoological terms in popular parlance -- I can hardly imagine that we would like, for instance, a number of international agreements relating to fisheries to suddenly have to apply to tetrapods as well!


However, the context in which this discussion arose was another matter -- it was a question on the limits of adaptability in a certain phylogenetic line that might be imposed by genetic constraints. Under these circumstances, it is perfectly reasonable to answer a question such as "why didn't dinosaurs do thus and so" by pointing out that there are birds that have, in fact, done exactly that. I realize that you could carry this to ridiculous extremes, too -- asking, for example, why there are no fish that swing from treetops -- but in the case of birds and dinosaurs, I suspect that birds are still morphologically and genetically close enough to their dinosaur ancestors (yes, yes, or their archosaur ancestors if you think that way) that they should not be ignored when the question is one of adaptive range.


Ronald Orenstein
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