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Thread: Are dinosaurs technically gone (save for birds/Avian?)

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    Are dinosaurs technically gone (save for birds/Avian?)

    Next year is the Chinese year of the Dragon, and the "dragon", although somewhat mythological, is based on historical or existing animals. Dinosaurs in Chinese pinyin is "kong long", which literally translates into "terror dragon".

    Crocodiles, monitor lizards (if you know what they are), komodo dragon, bearded dragon, iguana, are a few reptilian that look remotely dinosaur-like. I'm pretty aware that they evolved off dinosaurs when dinosaurs were there, though.

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    I think dinosaurs are more than technically gone. They are actually gone. I'm not sure what you mean by "evolved off," but if that means that they evolved from dinosaurs, that's not correct as far as I know. I think the evolution of dinosaurs and reptiles is believed to be parallel. And I have heard that people argue that birds descend from dinosaurs, and so one could argue that the dinosaurs are still around in the guise of birds, but normally we call birds birds.
    As above, so below

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    Are dinosaurs technically gone

    That depends on how you define gone. You may want to ponder that at a paleontological museum.

    Is that thing lying or standing in front of you gone? Is it still there as a fossil or is the fossil only like an image on film?

    I like to think the dinosaurs are still here, just in another form, like the photons our eyes catch from a far away star really are that star. The dinosaur in its form in the presence, allowing an imaginated glance into the past.

    But I think you probably meant living creatures.

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    We have birds, which are the descendants of dinosaurs. We have crocodiles, which are close relatives to the dinosaurs.

    The extinct species are gone for good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    'm not sure what you mean by "evolved off," but if that means that they evolved from dinosaurs, that's not correct as far as I know.
    As Jens said, I'm not sure what you mean by that, but if it means evolved from dinosaurs, that is incorrect. The crocodiles and the dinosaurs seemed to have evolved from a common ancestor (reference).
    Thecodonts may have been ancestors of the dinosaurs. Thecodonts (like Chasmatosaurus) were socket-toothed reptiles that were the ancestors of dinosaurs, birds, pterosaurs, and crocodilians. These archosauriforms were low-slung, meat-eating quadrupeds had long jaws and a long tail (they looked a lot like crocodiles).
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    Sorry, my expression error: I mean exactly what Swift says:
    The crocodiles and the dinosaurs seemed to have evolved from a common ancestor (reference).

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    Birds are the only living things that can legitimately be called dinosaurs. Crocodilians (probably along with turtles) are like cousins to them, descended from an ancestor that dinosaurs were also descended from. That makes them not dinosaurs but members of a bigger group that dinosaurs were also members of: archosaurs.

    Iguanas and komodo & bearded "dragons" are lizards. Lizards are not so closely related to the archosaur group. They are the main members (along with snakes, tuataras, and amphisbaenians) of another group called "lepidosaurs". No archosaur is a lepidosaur and no lepidosaur is an archosaur.

    The common lepidosaur ancestor and the common archosaur ancestor were like cousins, being descended from an even older common ancestor. That makes both groups combined, plus their common ancestor and any other extinct descendants it has, an even bigger group called "diapsids".

    So, the existence of living lizards and crocodiles and such doesn't mean dinosaurs are still alive; it means various other diapsids that were never dinosaurs are still alive.

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    this is kind of like the "if we descended from monkeys, then why are there still monkeys?" question that is brought up by people that want to discredit evolution..
    dinosaurs are extinct- but the animals that evolved alongside and even from dinosaurs are still around.

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    No they are not. we have learned much from the remnants records of the dinosaurs. The Tatura Lizard does not have teeth and is said to be a true remnant dinosaur. Technically looking around the globe at the Galapagos turtles, the Malaysian monitor lizard, The salt water crocks of northern Australia,and its strange Platypus... New Zealand's lizards and a whole lot of other close relatives of dinosaurs..
    Yes,. They are not dinosaurs.. but they are the descendant survivors of that era...

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    Quote Originally Posted by astromark View Post
    No they are not. we have learned much from the remnants records of the dinosaurs. The Tatura Lizard does not have teeth and is said to be a true remnant dinosaur. Technically looking around the globe at the Galapagos turtles, the Malaysian monitor lizard, The salt water crocks of northern Australia,and its strange Platypus... New Zealand's lizards and a whole lot of other close relatives of dinosaurs..
    Yes,. They are not dinosaurs.. but they are the descendant survivors of that era...
    I don't know about some of those animals but I hesitate to even start looking them up because it seems so outlandish. Have you actually ever heard that the platypus might be a close relative of the dinosaurs? I never have, and honestly it seems fairly improbable. The platypus is clearly a mammal. And the Galapagos tortoise? Isn't it just a kind of turtle? Has anyone ever suggested it was a dinosaur? Or do you simply mean "dinosaur" as "anachronistic creature?" Otherwise, I really don't understand what you're trying to say.
    As above, so below

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    Quote Originally Posted by astromark View Post
    No they are not. we have learned much from the remnants records of the dinosaurs. The Tatura Lizard does not have teeth and is said to be a true remnant dinosaur. Technically looking around the globe at the Galapagos turtles, the Malaysian monitor lizard, The salt water crocks of northern Australia,and its strange Platypus... New Zealand's lizards and a whole lot of other close relatives of dinosaurs..
    Yes,. They are not dinosaurs.. but they are the descendant survivors of that era...
    The Tuataras (there are 2 species) are not lizards. But their closest living relatives are the lizards. They are precisely as closely related to the dinosaurs as lizards are, in the sense that the common ancestor of tuataras and dinosaurs is the same as the common ancester of lizards and dinosaurs. Though it is more closely related than lizards to all sorts of long extinct things (many of them called something-saurus) that aren't dinosaurs either, except to the extent that people tend to call any long-extinct reptile (that isn't a lizard, crocodile or tortoise) a dinosaur (especially if it is called a something-saurus). The pleurosaurs are probably the best known extinct things that are more closely related to tuataras than to lizards.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Inclusa View Post
    Dinosaurs in Chinese pinyin is "kong long", which literally translates into "terror dragon".
    And in English is constructed from the Greek meaning "terror lizard". I wonder whether one is a loan from the other.

    Quote Originally Posted by baric View Post
    The extinct species are gone for good.
    With respect, there is not much information in that statement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Perikles View Post
    With respect, there is not much information in that statement.
    I just wanted to rule out the possibility of a "Jurassic Park" scenario.

    Will the judges allow it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    ... Have you actually ever heard that the platypus might be a close relative of the dinosaurs? I never have, and honestly it seems fairly improbable. The platypus is clearly a mammal. ...
    It certainly has mammalian characteristics but it also has a duck's bill and webbed feet and lays eggs so there must be some bird in there and birds descended from dinosaurs so it's obviously part dinosaur.



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    Yes Platypus they are something aren't they

    A mammal with a bill that lays eggs and has a poisonous spur..

    You couldn't make it up

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    Birds technically are dinosaurs. There is no way to create a cladeogram that comprises all dinosaurs but excludes birds.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    It certainly has mammalian characteristics but it also has a duck's bill and webbed feet and lays eggs so there must be some bird in there and birds descended from dinosaurs so it's obviously part dinosaur.
    The duck bill and the web feet are covergent evolution, not divergent evolution.

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    Quote Originally Posted by parallaxicality View Post
    The duck bill and the web feet are covergent evolution, not divergent evolution.
    Grats, Jim, on the fine catch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by parallaxicality View Post
    The duck bill and the web feet are covergent evolution, not divergent evolution.
    Missed the "Bazinga!", huh?
    Last edited by Jim; 2011-Feb-21 at 09:12 PM. Reason: tags
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    It certainly has mammalian characteristics but it also has a duck's bill and webbed feet and lays eggs so there must be some bird in there and birds descended from dinosaurs so it's obviously part dinosaur.
    Well, sometimes when a Beaver and a Duck love each other very, very much...
    Et tu BAUT? Quantum mutatus ab illo.

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    See, this is why I was never trained in espionage.

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    This classification puts birds under Dinosauria. My understanding is that that's where they really belong, but since it's a somewhat recent realization that birds really are dinosaurs' descendants it's conventionally not placed in Dinosauria. Take what I say with a grain of salt, though, since I'm not particularly knowledgeable on the matter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elukka View Post
    This classification puts birds under Dinosauria. My understanding is that that's where they really belong, but since it's a somewhat recent realization that birds really are dinosaurs' descendants it's conventionally not placed in Dinosauria. Take what I say with a grain of salt, though, since I'm not particularly knowledgeable on the matter.
    That's taking a cladistic approach, which is one method of classification.

    Nick

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Theodorakis View Post
    That's taking a cladistic approach, which is one method of classification.

    Nick
    Not to sound obtuse, but what other biological taxonomy systems are in use today that track ancestry?

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    Go look at a duck. It looks like a duck, doesn't it? It also quacks like a duck and waddles like a duck. Unless of course you are looking at a dead duck. Don't do that, go look at a live duck. Now look at a duckling. It looks like a duckling, a cute little ball of fluff. But look at a duck that's neither duckling or adult but inbetween. Watch it for a minute or two and provided you've been exposed to enough Jurrassic Park you'll realise that adolescent duck looks like a dinosaur. One theory says that dinosaurs aren't extinct, they're just hiding behind furniture, but actually they appear to be hiding between ducks and ducklings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by parallaxicality View Post
    Birds technically are dinosaurs. There is no way to create a cladeogram that comprises all dinosaurs but excludes birds.
    Although what you say is the leading hypothesis at the moment, it is only recently that the competing hypothesis that dinosaurs and birds were closely related but separate lineages was given considerable respect. And I would rather suspect that quite a lot of specialists who understand the quality of the evidence retain lingering doubts.

    Paleontological cladistics has to be done by the comparative methods that were until recently the only methods for living things we had until DNA analysis came along. When we started doing the DNA analysis, we learned a lot of surprises. In fact, many bits of cladistics have been completely reformed by it, and it remains an on-going study. It is easy to forget that. For this reason, I do not have complete confidence in palaeocladistics, even when the fossil record is rich. But on the "are birds dinosaurs" question, the pertinent fossil record is not rich, despite a lot of important recent finds in China. So I really wonder whether this is now really quite so unambiguously cut and dried as you imply.

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    IIRC, part of the debate is as to which foot/toe bone is retained in the two lineages to determine when they diverged, I could be wrong. While having lunch, in moderate weather, I'll watch Canadian geese forage and it is very easy to imagine their feeding motions to be an analogue for Hadrosaurs.

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    We are surrounded by lizards (gallotia galloti) where we live, and my wife often comments on how incredibly like little dinosaurs they are. I then suggest that she only thinks this because we have a concept of dinosaur based on the idea of a large lizard, so it's hardly surprising they look like little dinosaurs. Unfortunately the discussion then usually degenerates into why I must always spoil everything by analyzing it, but that's life.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Perikles View Post
    Unfortunately the discussion then usually degenerates into why I must always spoil everything by analyzing it, but that's life.
    Yeah, I have had those kinds of conversations with my wife too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    Yeah, I have had those kinds of conversations with my wife too.
    Yeah... I constantly get the "The short version, please.".

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    My wife's eyes start to glaze over. Or better yet, when I'm looking over some paper or other online and she looks at it, sees all the fun mathematical symbols and says, "Why?"

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