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Re: The Papers That Ate Cincinnati

On 5/4/07, Mike Taylor <mike@indexdata.com> wrote:

For whatever very little it might be worth, my own position is that the "traditional" understanding of birds is that _Archaeopteryx_ is the most primitive animal that is defined to be a bird; and so the node-based definition of Chiappe best captures this notion, so that Aves = (_Archaeopteryx_ + modern birds).

I think Marjanovic's proposed definition (see http://www.phylonames.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=19&start=25) covers traditional usage far better, since _Archaeopteryx_ has not always been an essential member, but dromaeosaurids, troodontids, etc. have generally been essential *non-members*.

Still, I prefer the crown group definition for reasons stated here:
(And also stated at more length by Gauthier and de Queiroz, 2001.)

As discussed on that forum (and years ago on this forum), perhaps it
would be wise to coin a new name, "Ornithes" (shockingly unused to
date), for one of the definitions.

 But I know that lots of
people have other ideas, and I deliberately didn't adopt a position on
that question in the paper because I didn't want to get bogged down
in what is from my perspective a side-issue.  (After all,
_Archaeopteryx_ weighed WAAAY less than ten tons.)

Heh heh. -- Mike Keesey