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Re: Sinosauropteryx filament melanosomes challenged

Well, sure; why is that a problem?

The way the term actually gets used, in reality, equates to 'ectothermic 
amniote' (I say ectothermic rather than poikilothermic because of hummingbird 
torpor and such). Trying to make it a clade (and thus including birds) just 
confuses people. But there really isn't any gain in getting rid of the word 
entirely, either; having to talk about "lepidosaurs, crocodilians, and 
chelonians" would be a pain.

The formal classification Reptilia should just go away -- presuming we're using 
a system where monophyly is required. But the informal term 'reptiles' is still 

Same for 'fish' (Class Pisces is pretty much dead, but we can still talk about 

----- Original Message -----
From: "Dann Pigdon" <dannj@alphalink.com.au>
To: dinosaur@usc.edu
Sent: Monday, December 6, 2010 3:42:47 PM GMT -06:00 US/Canada Central
Subject: Re: Sinosauropteryx filament melanosomes challenged

On Tue, Dec 7th, 2010 at 5:38 AM, vultur-10@neo.tamu.edu wrote:

> I think the word 'reptile' (or 'Reptilia', etc.) should just be dropped from 
> any phylogenetic
> system; it just confuses the public to make Reptilia include birds. "Reptile" 
> is a perfectly good
> word for "ectothermic amniote"; it doesn't need to be crammed into 
> designating a clade, any 
> than 'fish' (="non-tetrapod vertebrates"?) does. Clades are not the only 
> useful categories.
> So (IMO) crocodiles should be 'reptiles'; dinosaurs should not. 

Yet crocs are also archosaurs, and only secondarily ectothermic. By your 
definition that would 
make them secondarily reptilian as well. So much for attempting to avoid 
confusion... :-)


Dann Pigdon
Spatial Data Analyst               Australian Dinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia               http://home.alphalink.com.au/~dannj