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(CNN)   A backhoe operator digs some dinosaur tail. Sexy   ( cnn.com) divider line
    More: Interesting, dinosaurs, fossils, sandstone, Flintstones, paleontology  
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2047 clicks; posted to Geek » on 03 Oct 2013 at 2:28 PM (4 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2013-10-03 08:33:53 PM  
1 vote:

Precision Boobery: HighZoolander: sort-of-want... but the one on the left is giving off a serious transformer vibe...

They're reptiles with mammaries...they're all transanamailan.

Technically we're reptiles with mammaries :D  (Now, if you'd said "archosaurs with mammaries", I could agree--though the concept of "scaly" furries with bewbs does bother me on a biological basis. :D)

And no, not really all that kidding on that, either--"Reptilia" as a clade is increasingly recognised as either equivalent to Amniota (the clade that includes archosaurs, most "scalies" aka lepidiosaurs--your actual lizards and snakes--and squamates like us and kangaroos and gorgonopsids and Dimetrodon) or equivalent to Sauropsidia (the clade that includes archosaurs and lepidiosaurs but does NOT include squamates like us and kangaroos and gorgonopsids and Dimetrodon).  Recent discoveries + cladistics have pretty much not only sunk birds into a clade of therpodian bat-analogues, but have tended to muddle even how mammals end up getting classified...we're realising that the old sense of "Reptilia = scaly critters" is not exactly accurate.

Technically, "Reptilia" in the sense people think of it is paraphyletic--people have traditionally thought of it as "scaly critters including the lepidiosaurs and archosaurs and testudines but NOT birds".  The discoveries that birds ARE dinosaurs (specifically a clade of theropodian bat-analogues--yes, as the XKCD strip notes, dinosaurs still exist, and the fastest dinosaur that lives is a predatory dinosaur that feeds on other dinosaurs by divebombing them at 200mph) has, well, muddied this up a bit :D

(I haven't even gotten onto the matter of how turtles get classified.  There is actually a bit of a debate on whether turtles should be technically classified as reptiles (sensu 'the clade with diapsid critters like lepidiosaurs and archosaurs"--the evidence DOES tend to lend lately towards "yes, they do belong with the archosaurs and lepidiosaurs in a clade", but there has been some discussion on the possibility of turtles being essentially a third amniote clade.  We do know that they probably forked pretty damn early if they are "reptiles" in the sense of "non-squamate diapsids", but it'd be helpful to find more dead proto-turtles to sort out where turtles actually fit in the evolutionary family tree.)
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