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Re: Greg Paul is right (again); or "Archie's not a birdy"



David Marjanovic <david.marjanovic@gmx.at> wrote:

>>  Curious to see some examples of this in the literature.
>
> How about "cold-blooded-ness" and a body covering of scales being
> extrapolated all the way to the *Archaeopteryx* node?

I had the same thing in my mind when I read Mike Keesey's e-mail, but
I don't think that supposedly ectothermic basal avialans qualify as
one of your "reverse unjustified inferences". Chinsamy et al. (1995),
who proposed it, based their conclusions on histological evidence (not
very good evidence, though).

> And indeed, I cannot remember having ever read a statement like "all birds
> lack teeth" or "Aves is characterized by a toothless beak" even by a
> neontologist (after 1861 obviously). Neontologists of course don't think of
> Mesozoic birds much, but they do keep them in the backs of their heads and
> consider them "birds"/members of Aves.

Exactly. I would even say that neontologists are quite cautious about
any statements of apomorphies in the case of _Aves_. Try to search for
the phrase "synapomorphy of Aves" on Google Scholar. The results are
all paleontological papers.

> This holds especially for biologists who don't normally think about
> biodiversity. A few years ago we discussed the Nature paper about "the
> ancestral vertebrate karyotype", where Vertebrata was used instead of
> Osteichthyes, Tetrapoda instead of Sarcopterygii, and so on... it's not
> really about crown vs. bigger, it's about well-known vs. accurate.

The name _Plantae_ has a similar problem: should it be used for land
plants (= Embryophyta), green plants (= Viridiplantae) or all things
that have plastids of direct prokaryote origin (= _Plastida_,
Primoplantae)? It's not always "crown clade vs. apomorphy-based clade
vs. total clade" kind of problem.

>>  The PhyloCode requires using "species"* as specifiers.
>
> Actually, it requires specimens; you are simply allowed to use the name of a
> species as shorthand for its type specimen.

Good point. At least it is ready for Mishler's approach to "species".
("Get rid of it!")


References:

Chinsamy A, Chiappe LM, Dodson P 1995 Mesozoic avian bone
microstructure: physiological implications. Paleobiol 21(4): 561-74
-- 
David Černý