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

> From: Mike Taylor [mailto:mike@indexdata.com]
> 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.

Except, of course, for much of the 20th Century, when monophyly of Dinosauria 
was rejected, and the texts would say that "dinosaurs
do not represent a real group, but are two unrelated groups of archosaurs" or 
words to that effect. Like on the Smithosonian's
dinosaur exhibit... :-S

                Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
        Senior Lecturer, Vertebrate Paleontology
Department of Geology           Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland          College Park Scholars
        Mailing Address:
                Building 237, Room 1117
                College Park, MD  20742

Phone:  301-405-4084    Email:  tholtz@geol.umd.edu
Fax (Geol):  301-314-9661       Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-405-0796