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RE: Sinosauropteryx filament melanosomes challenged

I agree with everything you say, but I think the concept of "higher" life has 
its uses when placed in a larger context. The universe as a whole seems to self 
complexify; that is to say that the universe started out as simple particles, 
then matter, accretion disks, stars, planets, primitive self replicating 
polymers, DNA based life etc. Endothermic life has a higher potential to evolve 
larger more complex brains, which in turn can lead to technology, which in turn 
could lead to artificial life, until for all we know, something like a 
matryoshka brain (or Dyson sphere) is the "end" result; the entire process 
could often culminate (all over the universe) into something that is as far 
"above" us in energy usage and complexity than we are above bacteria. So while 
evolution doesn't have a "goal" and it's not a ladder to be climbed, it is a 
process that tends to produce increasingly complex systems that may increase in 
both the rate and quantity of total energy consumed/used. This is actually the 
basis for the Kardashev scale in which hypothetical civilizations are 
categorized based on the amount of energy consumed; a type I being a planetary 
scale, II an entire star, III an entire galaxy. So in this context, I would 
definitely say that archosaurs and mammals are higher forms of life than 
reptiles, but not because they are "superior" but because they tend to be more 
complex, more intelligent, use more energy and have the potential to produce 
sapient life.
Sim Koning       

> Date: Tue, 7 Dec 2010 17:19:37 +1100
> From: tijawi@gmail.com
> To: dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject: Re: Sinosauropteryx filament melanosomes challenged
> Sim Koning wrote:
> > I consider Archosaurs to be a class "above" reptiles. I would also include 
> > crocs since they probably evolved from warm-blooded
> > ancestors and have 4 chambered hearts. The name "class" suggests something 
> > analogous to a social hierarchy,
> For that reason (as well as many others), the term "class" has
> effectively been abandoned. "Class" is a loaded term, and so can
> actually be misleading when discussing evolutionary relationships.
> For the same reason, "class" Aves is unhelpful when discussing the
> origin of birds, because it suggests that birds are a "class above"
> the lowly reptiles (dinosaurs included). Instead, birds comprise a
> clade *inside* Paraves, which is in turn a clade inside Maniraptora,
> which is a clade inside Coelurosauria, and so on through successively
> larger (more inclusive) clades: Tetanurae, Theropoda, Saurischia,
> Dinosauria, Ornithodira, Archosauria, Diapsida, Amniota, Craniata,
> Vertebrata, Chordata.... (OK, I've skipped quite a few clades along
> the way, but you get the general idea.) No good can come from
> arbitrarily raising any one of these clades (such as Archosauria) to a
> "class". In fact, it's as pointless as maintaining Reptilia or Aves
> or Mammalia at the rank of "class". The terms "kingdom" and "phylum"
> and "order" are equally pointless. All this Linnaean rank-based
> taxonomy is just rearranging deckchairs on the typological Titanic.
> Oh, and "warm-blooded" (like "cold-blooded") is also misleading. I
> thought while I was being pedantic and nit-picky, I might as well jump
> in with both feet. :-)
> Cheers
> Tim