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Re: Phylogenetic taxonomic definitions in Xiaotingia paper
I'm reading today's posts from the earliest to the latest, so if this
has been said, I will hope I am not retreading old ground:
Well, we've all had these discussions several times in the last few
years, so don't worry about one more repetition :-)
I'd rather see re-invented definitions of old clade names than people
coining new names for new definitions.
Completely new concepts should come with completely new names. Shifting
the meanings of names around too much increases confusion -- just like
inventing new names for each tiny shift in meaning would.
Have you noticed how the term "birds" is used in the discussion
triggered by *Xiaotingia*? It's used as a branch-based name for
everything closer to Neornithes than to traditional non-birds like
velociraptorines, dromaeosaurines, troodontids, oviraptorosaurs and the
like. That's how the definition of Avialae by Xu et al. maps to their
tree. I think Aves should be defined that way (more carefully, means,
with more external specifiers); that's the closest thing to a
traditional meaning it has, and it literally means "birds" not just in
Latin, but also in (higher styles of) today's Spanish and Portuguese.
(Mickey, I'm a world-class complainer, and _I'm_ glaring at
You're _complaining_ about him. :-)