Paraphyly=mistakes? (There's the rub)

Curtis Clark jcclark at CSUPOMONA.EDU
Tue Jan 8 18:20:50 CST 2002

At 03:12 PM 1/8/02, Richard Pyle wrote:
>I hardly regard it as "artificial" that birds have feathers, can fly, etc.,
>etc.; whereas reptiles do not.

What about those recently discovered dinosaurs with feathers and no wings?

And what if morganucodonts were still around? Would we put them *in*
Mammalia or take the monotremes out?

It's strange how so many of our paraphyletic groups either reflect
ignorance-because-of-extinction, or
ignorance-because-of-not-paying-attention. Willfully using ignorance as a
separation criterion for taxa strikes me as somewhat unscientific.

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

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