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Re: Sinosauropteryx filament melanosomes challenged

 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.

Getting rid of it is the only way to make clear that it isn't a clade.

 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 useful.

The only way to possibly save it is what Joseph T. Collins (aka "Center for North American Herpetology") does: he uses it for either "lepidosaurs" or "squamates" (same thing for a neontologist in North America, so I can't tell). He now routinely writes about "the turtles, reptiles, and crocodilians of North America" or "the turtles and reptiles of Kansas". But why do that when "squamate" (and "lepidosaur") is already available?

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

But should we?

My doctoral supervisor, Michel Laurin, is notorious for having banned the word "fish" (in several languages) from his own usage and that of anybody he can influence. In his previous department, there was a tradition that, every year before Christmas, the whole department had a dinner in a restaurant. One year, he says, they were served ray wings. The organizer said "oh no, anything but this!" It turned out she had ordered "fish" and got "fish". Michel immediately pointed out that they wouldn't have got chondrichthyan if she had ordered actinopterygian or teleost, which was what she actually wanted.

Ray wings, for those who haven't had the questionable pleasure, are fibrous and slimy at the same time; not to everyone's taste. It is immediately obvious that teleost is much more similar to amniote meat.

I hope the word "fish" will one day be restricted to "actinopterygian". I think a slow trend towards this already exists.