[Taxacom] Social aspects of paraphyly

Kenneth Kinman kennethkinman at webtv.net
Thu Mar 3 20:06:36 CST 2011

Hi Bob,
      It's a cute cartoon, but unfortunately the cartoonist was making
fun of the wrong group.  It is not ornithologists as a group that are
advocating "folding" birds into reptiles.  It is actually herpetologists
(especially dinosaur herpetologists) who INSIST that birds ARE dinosaurs
(and thus reptiles), rather than the more moderate view that birds are
better regarded as just reptile descendants (which they clearly are).             
      So if one is going make fun of paraphylophobia, it should be
directed more at herpetologists, NOT ornithologists.  Not that all
herpetologists are guilty of such phobic behavior, but there are now so
many dinosaur herpetologists out there that are paraphylophobic that
they tend to dominate the herpetological literature when it comes to an
insistence on strict paraphyly.  On the other hand, there is no obvious
reason to assume that ornithologists as a whole support such an extreme
paraphylophobic approach to classification.    
        ------------ Ken Kinman
Bob Mesibov wrote:  

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