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RE: pterofuzz and feathers

Anthony Docimo wrote:

> aren't "lizards" paraphyletic?

The traditional/Linnaean concept of Lacertilia ("lizards") was certainly 
paraphyletic, given that it was a group that excluded snakes 
(Ophidia/Serpentes) and amphisbaenians.  This was typological thinking at work: 
extant snakes and amphisbaenians look _so_ much different to lizards, so each 
was awarded its own "suborder" inside Squamata.

Phylogenetic taxonomy now recognizes that snakes and amphisbaenians are nested 
inside the traditional "lizards" (collectively speaking).  Thus (according to 
at least one morphology-based phylogeny) clade Squamata is subdivided into 
clades such as Iguania (basal, among crown squamates), Pythonomorpha 
(mosasaurs, snakes, etc), and Autarchoglossa (skinks, monitors, gekkos, 
chameleons, amphisbaenians, and so on).  Molecular studies resolve squamate 
interrelationships very differently; but snakes and amphisbaenians are still 
nested inside various "lizard" clades.

I would suppose David Peters is using the term "lizards" as a vernacular term 
for Squamata.  Of course, in no way do I endorse his view that pterosaurs are 
squamates (!).


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