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Re: Sinosauropteryx filament melanosomes challenged

On Wed, Dec 8, 2010 at 3:37 AM,  <vultur-10@neo.tamu.edu> wrote:
> Using Reptilia for Lepidosauria or Squamata has the same problem -- it's just 
> as unnatural to have it exclude turtles and crocs as it is to have it include 
> birds.
> Since there's no clade "turtles + snakes + lizards + crocodiles + tuataras" 
> (all the scaly, egg-laying cold-blooded animals) to the exclusion of birds, 
> which is what 'reptile' has meant for at least a couple centuries, using 
> Reptilia as a clade *at all* just seems designed to confuse.

Just to play devil's advocate, why is this true of Reptilia but not
Dinosauria? "Dinosaur" had meant saurischians and ornithischians (plus
various non-dinosaurian ornithodirans and crurotarsans) to the
exclusion of birds for over a century before it was re-defined to
include birds in the '80s. What's the cutoff time for declaring that a
name is salvageable due to tradition? Why is "birds are dinosaurs" ok
but "birds are reptiles" is not? (Or "birds are fish", for that