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RE: Polyphyletic

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Posted by: CKing at Sat Oct 4 08:55:28 2008  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by CKing ]  

>>I don't think I'll publish a phylogeny as stupid as the one I proposed... >>

You are entitled to your opinion. I would not call it "stupid" but I would consider it not very useful. Taxonomy is all about utility. It is not science although taxonomists do agree that taxonomy must reflect phylogeny and therefore evolution.

>>which is identical in its logic, construction, and merit to the reptiles. >>

I disagree. Reptilia is a more logical and meritorious taxon than your proposed taxon "Nonchelonia." That is not only my opinion but also the opinion of a vast majority of taxonomists through history. Linnaeus, who knows quite a bit about classification, did not recongize a "Nonchelonia" but he did recognize Reptilia.

>>Just replace "sacrum covered with ribs" with "fur or feathers".>>

It is not that simple. Carapace are identifiable as scales, and fused ribs are still identifiable as bone. Feathers and furs originated from scales, but they are very different from scales morphologically. To this date, no one knows exactly how scales evolved into feathers, and some of the hypotheses of feather evolution proposed by some cladists to conform to their dogma of a dinosaurian origin of birds are demonstrably silly. Feathers is also chemically different from reptilian scales.

>>The difference between the two: opinion. >>

Not at all. Your opinion is that feathers or fur do not differ very much from scales, but your opinion is simply wrong. It is contradicted by scientific fact and by the opinion of a large number of the greatest scientific minds that have lived throughout history.

>>You think feathers don't belong in the reptilia because you don't feel like they belong, and someone else could just as well remove the turtles for equally subjective and absurd reasons.>>

Of course I don't think feathered animals should be classified in Reptilia. That is not just my "feeling", but the consensus of many of the greatest minds of the past and present. Most biologists would agree that Class Aves is a separate taxon from Class Reptilia.

>>The difference, therefore, is actually historic. >>

That is your opinion. And of course my opinion is that you have made a logical error.

>>Generations ago, ignorant people felt like birds were different from reptiles, but people felt like turtles were not.>>

If ignorance = lack of knowledge, then indeed many people in the past lack the knowledge that birds were derived from reptiles. However, they do know that birds are different from Reptiles. Reptiles, for example, are ectotherms. Birds, OTOH, are endotherms. Sure, some ignorant people claim that dinosaurs are endotherms, but it has been shown by those who are knowledgeable that all of the evidence that have been proposed for endothermic dinosaurs are either erroneous or equivocal.

Reptiles and birds do share the sympleisomorph of egg laying, but then monotremes also lay eggs. So, the cladists are absolutely incorrect to group the birds with reptiles and then exclude the monotremes from their "Reptilia." In fact, physiologically monotremes have more in common with reptiles than birds do. Of course the therapsids and anapsids, which the cladists exclude from their "Reptilia," are even more reptile like than the birds and the monotremes. The cladistic "Reptilia" therefore is not very useful and it is silly.

Ever since the discovery of Archaeopteryx, there is no doubt that birds are descended from a reptile. Nevertheless, until recently, no one tried to classify birds as reptiles. And even after some cladists proposed including birds in Reptilia, most biologists have ignored that ridiculous proposal and continue to recognize a paraphyletic Reptilia. So, it is demonstrably not the lack of knowledge about bird ancestry that have resulted in the continued recognition of a paraphyletic Reptilia. In fact, it is not knowledge, but cladistic dogma (which is intolerant of paraphyletic taxa), that is the motivation behind the cladists' proposal to include birds in Reptilia. Unfortunately for the cladists, their dogma has not been adopted by a vast majority of biologists world wide, who continued to accept paraphyletic taxa such as Reptilia and Prokaryota.

Finally, if you think that feathers are not very different from scales, then you are just ignorant.


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