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RE: Monotremes



> From: owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu [mailto:owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu]On Behalf Of
> Anthony Docimo
>
> > > if you say "monotreme"/"monotrema", I know you're talking about a mammal
> > > that lays eggs rather than having live birth.
> >
> >But only from the parochial view of the Neogene.
>
> Whereas if we use the view from the Cambrian or the Cambiferous(sp), there's
> no such problem.  ;)

But given that the majority of mammalian history precedes the Neogene, there is 
an issue there. I'm not saying "don't call 'em
monotremes." I'm saying "don't think that it is being egg-laying mammals that 
makes 'em monotremes."

> (after all, we don't want people thinking that science - specifically
> classification - is something only relevant to long-bearded men in ivory
> towers)

Hey, I'm clean shaven and Centreville Hall is made of brick, steel, and 
concrete! :-)

> >We honestly don't know which of the many diverse Mesozoic and Paleogene
> >extinct
> >lineages of mammals (allotheres, eutriconodonts, docodonts, etc., etc.)
> >were egg-laying mammals but not monotremes (i.e., not part
> >of Monotremata).
>
> Tempting as it would be to therefore ask "then what good is a cladogram when
> the relationships are uncertain", I won't.  I'll just say that if they're
> not monotremes, fine, then we don't call them monotremes....we don't throw
> the baby out with the bathwater just because the baby wet the water.

You seem to be misunderstanding my point. I--and to my knowledge, NO ONE--is 
advocating abandoning the name "Monotremata". I am just
pointing out that your description of monotremes is not accurate: or rather, it 
is accurate only to a neontologist and not to a
paleontologists.

You know, paleontology. The science that we use on this list.

                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

http://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholtz/
http://www.geol.umd.edu/~jmerck/eltsite
Phone:  301-405-4084    Email:  tholtz@geol.umd.edu
Fax (Geol):  301-314-9661       Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-405-0796