View Poll Results: What should Dinosaurs be classified as?

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  • Birds

    2 20.00%
  • Lizards

    1 10.00%
  • A New Class

    3 30.00%
  • Other (explain)

    4 40.00%
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Thread: Classifying Dinosaurs

  1. #1 Classifying Dinosaurs 
    Forum Masters Degree SuperNatendo's Avatar
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    Dec 2007
    Nashville, TN USA
    Reptiles are air-breathing, cold-blooded vertebrates that have skin covered in scales as opposed to hair or feathers. They are tetrapods (having or having descended from vertebrates with four limbs) and amniotes, whose embryos are surrounded by an amniotic membrane.

    By this definition, I think it is safe to point out that Dinosaurs don't quite fit in this category. Especially after it has been found that most of them were warm blooded and more and more discoveries support that more and more species of them have been discovered to have had feathers.

    While I agree with the consensus to place most dinosaurs in the same class as birds, I'm not sure what to think about species of tetrapods such as Brachiosaurus and triceratops, and other dinosaurs utilizing all four of their legs for walking.

    "It's no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense." - Mark Twain
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  3. #2  
    Forum Bachelors Degree
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    Mar 2008
    I don't think you can classify all dinosaurs as one species just as you can't classify all mammals as one species. Some would be classified under birds as well some would be classified under reptiles and a host of other classifications. I think you need to narrow your topic down to specific types of dinosaurs. As with those large four legged dinosaurs such as Brachiosaurus and Diplodocus I'm not too sure what classification they'd be under. Most likely Lizard. The big meat eaters such as Tyranosaurus Rex and Albertosaurus should be classified under birds in my opinion. How about ankylosaurus? I think they should be classified under lizards and Triceratops and Styracosaurus in my opinion should be labbeled under mammals.

    "The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt" - Bertrand Russell
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  4. #3  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
    South Africa
    One defining characteristic of dinosaurs is the shape of their hip-bones. The hind legs point downwards, instead out sideways and then down (crocodiles). Birds share this feature and lizards do not.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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  5. #4  
    Forum Professor
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    Sep 2007
    Isn't it established that there are a few different dinosaur lineages, some of which group with birds and others which don't?
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  6. #5  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
    Cardiff, Wales
    that doesn't matter - it has been established that Dinosauria is a perfectly good, monophyletic clade if you include birds, a paraphyletic one if you don't

    for a more inclusive term you could use "Archosauria", which would also include crocodiles, pterosaurs and "thecodontia"
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  7. #6  
    Forum Sophomore arkofnoah's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
    There has been recent discoveries that dinosaurs in fact has a different mode of metabolism, most evident in its mode of thermoregulation, than modern organisms.

    For years scientists have been debating whether dinosaurs are cold-blooded or warm-blooded. From new data (such as the fact that dinosaurs have higher metabolic rate than modern cold-blooded reptiles, which is not characteristic of ectotherms) it appears to be somewhere in between.

    Based on this alone, dinosaur is neither reptiles nor birds, so it most likely belongs to a separate class.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    May 2005
    Many cold-blooded species are capable of maintaining a higher temperature.

    The great white shark for instance. It's not even a reptile. Not even a bony fish.


    I'm afraid that cold-warm bloodedness isn't really a black and white area. Lots of grey.
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

    - Arnaud Amalric
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