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RE: Greg Paul is right (again); or "Archie's not a birdy"
People should note that there is a deliberate attempt to focus a scientific
word to encompass the psychological phyletic term "bird." That, so far, has
historically been *Aves* and its equivalents across many languages. But some
languages make distinctions, just as the US thinks beans and tomatoes are fruit
but only for the purposes of law (they "know" otherwise).
So the question here is whether the phyletic term "bird" and its
psychological inferences be the determining quality to which we apply the
scientific term *Aves*, and do we also distinguish that from the linguistic
term _aves_? The effectiveness of the scientific word as compared to the
phyletic form and the linguistic usage are, in some cases, quite different. How
do we reconcile them? SHOULD we?
Jaime A. Headden
The Bite Stuff (site v2)
"Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969)
"Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a
different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race
has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or
his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion
> Date: Tue, 2 Aug 2011 17:02:34 +1000
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: Re: Greg Paul is right (again); or "Archie's not a birdy"
> Anthony Docimo <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> > Okay. Let's assume we somehow get people to stop calling them _Aves_ and
> > "birds"...
> > They'll probably make those same assumptions when you start describing
> > those organisms (feathers, etc)
> Sadly, certain people will make those assumptions, even when they
> really ought to know better. For example, the following statement
> comes from as recently as 4 years ago (from Burnham, 2007; N. Jb.
> Geol. Palaont. Abh. 245: 33-44):
> "The caveat is that the evolution of birds is now
> tied to this new paradigm of flight origin whereby
> maniraptoran "dinosaurs" (e.g. _Microraptor_) are
> not only the progenitors of flight, but possess
> fundamental avian attributes, and therefore, must
> actually be birds themselves (Martin 2004;
> Feduccia et al. 2005)."
> The take-home message from this farrago of nonsense is that "avian" is
> still being (mis)used in a typological fashion. There is no such thing
> as a "fundamental avian attribute" - not feathers, not wings, not
> flight. The claims that these and other attributes are defining
> features of Aves, rather than arising in a stepwise fashion for
> various reasons, is one of the reasons why it is perhaps better to
> limit Aves to the crown-clade. That way, fossil theropods such as
> _Archaeopteryx_ and _Microraptor_ are not automatically assumed to
> belong to Aves, simply because they fit someone's nebulous,
> typological preconception of what a "bird" is.