[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Re: Are dinosaurs really reptiles?

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.

Psychologically, a new paint job is often a great deal, and I think it is in this case because:

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

No. Nothing would correspond to Reptilia -- the closest thing would be Sauropsida, which explicitly includes the birds. And if you list the turtles, lepidosaurs and crocodiles, you simply don't need to add "used to be lumped together as 'reptiles'".

Retaining Reptilia invites unjustified generalizations across turtles, lepidosaurs and crocs to the exclusion of birds, and actively discourages generalizations across archosaurs, diapsids and sauropsids by hiding the very existence of these clades.

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

Which comes from not having invented a new name, so that people keep talking about "dinosaurs" and forgetting the birds. That's why people keep reminding each other.

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


Because the term is useful.

As I explained yesterday, terms for paraphyletic groupings often seem to make ecological or phenetic sense, but even more often they lead to big and very real problems.

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.

Just don't say "fishes" and say "vertebrates" or "bony vertebrates" instead. (I hope "fish" will one day be restricted to Actinopterygii.)

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.

That's what I'm saying -- and I think we are in this paradoxical situation because the classifications hide this relationship, creating a mental block in the heads of all those who don't use diapsid phylogeny every day.

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).

Just what I'm saying again. Imagine Bakker hadn't had the term "reptile" at his disposal. "More bird than... uh... lepidosaur" would actually be correct. I don't think he'd have called crocs "typical sauropsids" or even "typical archosaurs".