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Thread: What is a bird?

  1. #1 What is a bird? 
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    The recent realization that many dinosaurs had feathers or feather precursors has the scientific community trying to determine an official definition for the word "bird". Anatomically, birds and reptiles are very similar. We could say only animals with the ability to fly are birds, but that would exclude chickens and include featherless lizards from the Draco genus. Many lizards have beaks and beak precursors as well. What do you guys think? What exactly is a bird?


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  3. #2  
    ▼▼ dn ʎɐʍ sıɥʇ ▼▼ RedPanda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chimoshi View Post
    The recent realization that many dinosaurs had feathers or feather precursors has the scientific community trying to determine an official definition for the word "bird". Anatomically, birds and reptiles are very similar. We could say only animals with the ability to fly are birds, but that would exclude chickens and include featherless lizards from the Draco genus. Many lizards have beaks and beak precursors as well. What do you guys think? What exactly is a bird?
    Birds are feathered, winged, two-legged, warm-blooded, beaked, egg-laying vertebrates.
    Since birds are descended from feathered dinosaurs, they will obviously share many similarities.


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    Forum Radioactive Isotope cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    . (Animals) any warm-blooded egg-laying vertebrate of the class Aves, characterized by a body covering of feathers and forelimbs modified as wings. Birds vary in size between the ostrich and the humming bird.

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...76802529,d.aWw


    A warm-blooded egg-laying vertebrate distinguished by the possession of feathers, wings, and a beak and (typically) by being able to fly.
    Class Aves; birds probably evolved in the Jurassic period from small dinosaurs that may already have been warm-blooded


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    flattened rat 甘肃人's Avatar
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    Perhaps it will help to view a few things that definitively are not birds




    I hope this helped
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    Samurai of Logic Falconer360's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Birds are feathered, winged, two-legged, warm-blooded, beaked, egg-laying vertebrates.
    Since birds are descended from feathered dinosaurs, they will obviously share many similarities.
    Moa were birds that lacked wings or even wing vestiges. So I think winged is not necessarily needed in the description. Unless we want to count the Moa as an exception to the rule about wings?
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    ▼▼ dn ʎɐʍ sıɥʇ ▼▼ RedPanda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Falconer360 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Birds are feathered, winged, two-legged, warm-blooded, beaked, egg-laying vertebrates.
    Since birds are descended from feathered dinosaurs, they will obviously share many similarities.
    Moa were birds that lacked wings or even wing vestiges. So I think winged is not necessarily needed in the description. Unless we want to count the Moa as an exception to the rule about wings?
    True.
    That's often the problem with classifying an animal based only on its phenotype: you get 'exceptions'.
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    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    A sub-group within the maniraptorian clade of coelurosaurian dinosaurs.

    -by their company are they known.
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    Samurai of Logic Falconer360's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    True.
    That's often the problem with classifying an animal based only on its phenotype: you get 'exceptions'.
    Working in paleontology, I know that problem all too well. Things are always getting reclassified into new orders and whatnot. then with plants there is the whole monocotyledon and dicotyledon grouping which is not ranked.... My point is that classifying anything is a complex process and can be changed at the drop of a hat when new species are discovered or developments made.

    ^What JG said is probably the best way to describe birds.
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    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Falconer360 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Birds are feathered, winged, two-legged, warm-blooded, beaked, egg-laying vertebrates.
    Since birds are descended from feathered dinosaurs, they will obviously share many similarities.
    Moa were birds that lacked wings or even wing vestiges. So I think winged is not necessarily needed in the description. Unless we want to count the Moa as an exception to the rule about wings?
    that problem disappears when you define a bird based on whichever specimen you admit in the bird category + all its descendants
    the first bird had wings for flying + imo a shortened tail
    even if their descendants lost any or all of those features they still are birds
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  11. #10  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Falconer360 View Post
    ^What JG said is probably the best way to describe birds.
    Although, from a practical point of view, I don't think there are any birds on the planet that I would doubt were birds. Nor any non-bird that I would mistake for a bird. (That's a challenge to the membership at large, by the way, to prove me wrong.) The problems emerge when we delve into fossil specimens.
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