Capybaras was Re: multiple classification systems

Curtis Clark jcclark at CSUPOMONA.EDU
Tue Jun 17 16:23:11 CDT 1997

At 12:08 PM 06/17/97 +1000, John Trueman wrote:
>Re Barbara Ertter's example:
>>the historical fact of an early Pope declaring that capybara are "fish" for
>>the purpose of Friday abstinence from meat. This seems nonsensical to us ...
>... and merely as an aside:
>To a biologist this should not seem nonsensical at all.  What is a human if
>not a scaleless, bipedal, terrestrial fish?

Ah, but to a cladist the fascinating part is not that the Pope declared
cabyparas to be fish, but rather that he excluded chickens, ducks, cows,
sheep, and pigs. :-)

Curtis Clark             
Biological Sciences Department                     Voice: (909) 869-4062
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona    FAX:   (909) 869-4078
Pomona CA 91768-4032  USA                          jcclark at

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