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Re: Heterodontosaurid with protofeathers
the entire concept of "Dinosauria" would be meaningless anyway,
so the taxon would collapse.
Yeah, it would collapse. But collapse is not a kind of stability.
In a sense it is: if the name doesn't refer to anything that's similar to
the concept that's historically associated with it, it's good if it
self-destructs, because that means it's associated either with more or less
the same concept or with nothing at all.
Someday I will test the stability of some definitions - cladistic and
non-cladistic ones - in a retrospective manner. Let's say, if we apply
the _Passer domesticus_ + _Triceratops horridus_ definition of
Dinosauria back into 1889 how would be their tree topology (a tree
constructed with phylogenetic analysis and the characters state as
known at that time)?
Phylogenetic analysis did not exist back then. Phylogenetics was not a
science back then*, it was an art. -- Also, what would your exercise be good
* Except arguably in linguistics.