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Re: The Papers That Ate Cincinnati

On 5/4/07, John Conway <john.a.conway@gmail.com> wrote:
Seems to me that the best solution would to not use Aves at all. It's a
common name in some languages,

Which ones? I welcome correction from a native speaker, but I think none of the common words for "bird" in the extant Romance languages are cognate with Latin "avis". Examples: - French: oiseau - Italian: uccello - Portuguese: pÃssaro - Romanian: pasÄre - Spanish: pÃjaro

The Latin cognate does exist in these languages (and in English as
"avian"), but I don't think it's the more common form (much as, in
English, "avian" and "fowl" are not nearly as common as "bird").

and the rather narrow constraints of
phylogenetic nomenclature aren't suited to capturing what is meant by
"bird". Even if we could find a precise definition of bird such as "the
first feathered animal leading to modern birds that achieved powered
flight, and all it's descendents"; what would that be under the
phylocode? An _event_ based clade?

No, that's an apomorphy-based clade. It's equivalent to _Avialae_ sensu Gauthier and de Queiroz, 2001. And even if the exact content is difficult to determine, it's still potentially useful, being a real entity relevant to discussions of the origin of flight.

The idea of not defining the name "Aves" at all was discussed here:

Mike Keesey