name of what?

Ken Kinman kinman2 at YAHOO.COM
Mon Mar 28 21:51:31 CST 2005

Marco Gaiani wrote:
     Is the White-collared Swift (try Googling Streptoprocne zonaris NOT Streptoprocne zonaria)
in response to:
Edwards Jr, G.B. who wrote:
>Could someone please tell me what kind of winged theropod (i.e. bird) this is?  :-)
>Streptoprocne zonaria
Dear All,
      When you get no results at all in a Google search, it is probably even better to follow up with a more restricted search (in this case, searching for "Streptoprocne" only).  This would have quickly revealed the spelling error in the species name.  I might also add that this is just one more reason not to adopt PhyloCode uninomials/mononomials.

      As for the phrase "winged theropod", it is basically equivalent to my Class Aves (sensu lato), which is much broader than just living birds (the crown group, which should be referred to as clade Neornithes).  Archaeopteryx is clearly going to be somewhere on the stem lineage leading up to the crown clade, but there are more and more fossil lineages (plesions) being discovered all the time that split above Archaeopteryx, but below Neornithes.  And depending on your cladogram topology, a increasing number of taxa that might be either below or above Archaeopteryx.  That is why Class Aves should be apomorphy-based, NOT rooted on Archaeopteryx or any other genus.  In other words, precisely pin down what we mean by "winged" with a morphological character associated with "wings" which fossilizes readily.  That means bones in the wrist, arm, or shoulder (not flight feathers).  The old idea of "feathers = wings = birds" is clearly too simplistic, even though it is clearly better than an even more simplistic (and arbitrary) definition of Aves as a crown group.  It is just a matter of zeroing in on which synapomorphy is the best choice (as I have argued previously).  Unfortunately PhyloCode only gives lip-service to apomorphy-based taxa.
   --- Cheers,
              Ken Kinman
P.S.   By the way, Jim Devine of USGS appeared in an interview on the News Hour (PBS) tonight, and he also agrees that today's 8.7 Earthquake should NOT be called an aftershock of the 9.0 Earthquake in December.

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