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Re: Are dinosaurs really reptiles?

--- David Marjanovic <david.marjanovic@gmx.at> wrote:

> ----- 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 teachers would drop the outdated view that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...


That's where I disagree. All one is doing is taking
the same problem and giving it a new paint job.

Even if the name could be removed, there would be
decades of inertia to deal with (if not more). There
would be constant mentions of "group X, formerly
reptiles", or "groups XYZ (used to be called

It would be as bad as the bloody awful "non-avian
dinosaur" statements that pervade so many books


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


Because the term is useful.

> > (even if some of them insist on
> > this all inclusive nonsense).
> What do you mean?


Just the usual. I'm not a fan of ever inclusive names
in taxonomy. 

As Ken Carpenter had so aptly put it; when one uses
this 'nesting doll' classification system, it:

 "makes us hairy fishes!"

For some folks that's fine. Personally I think it just
confuses matters more.


> > 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.


You're acting like it's being ignored currently. The
relationship between crocs and birds has been
acknowledged for at least 30 years. It still has done
little to eliminate the misconceptions about them. 

Hell, Bakker made mention of how crocodiles are "more
bird than reptile," yet it didn't stop him from
treating crocs like "typical reptiles" in Heresies
(all the more ironic given that he chastised the "old
guard" for doing that very same thing). 

> > Killing off the name, does not remove the
> underlying
> > problem.
> If anything, it helps, though.


I guess we'll have to agree to disagree there.


"I am impressed by the fact that we know less about many modern [reptile] types 
than we do of many fossil groups." - Alfred S. Romer

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