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Re: Are dinosaurs really reptiles?

"Names should not be infinitely plastic" is a good wording.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jura" <pristichampsus@yahoo.com>
Sent: Friday, April 25, 2008 7:35 PM

The problem is a pedagogical one, not definitional. If
teachers would drop the outdated view that reptiles
are slow, "cold-blooded" animals that are primitive
relics from another time, then you wouldn't be running
into this apparent mental roadblock to begin with.

Dropping such a concept is easiest when combined with dropping the name to which it is attached, I think...

I'm glad that herpetologists have pushed for the
retaining of the name


(even if some of them insist on
this all inclusive nonsense).

What do you mean?

For dinosaur
paleontologists, removing the alleged thorn of
Reptilia, may seem like a good idea, but it does
nothing to actually fix the problem. If Reptilia was
removed tomorrow and replaced with Lepidosauria,
Testudines and Crocodylia, then we would have school
teachers telling students that all three of these
groups are composed of slow, "cold-blooded" animals
that are primitive relics from another time.

I rather think it would force them to confront how closely crocodiles and birds are related, for instance, and this would draw attention to nesting behavior, galloping and whatnot. If crocodiles and squamates can be lumped into Reptilia, while the birds are far away, all this is obscured.

Killing off the name, does not remove the underlying

If anything, it helps, though.

----- Original Message -----
From: "T. Michael Keesey" <keesey@gmail.com>
Sent: Friday, April 25, 2008 7:57 PM

Of course, this potentially leaves the crown group of testudines,
lepidosaurs, and archosaurs without a name. (_Diapsida_ would suffice
under some phylogenetic hypotheses, but not ones where testudines are
outside of lepidosaurs + archosaurs.)

On the other hand, as long as the turtles stay outside of Diapsida, this clade has the same known content as Sauropsida; if the turtles are inside, they are crown-group diapsids, and for the diapsid crown-group probably the name Neodiapsida will win out.