Search found 35 matches

by Misanthropic Scott
Tue May 21, 2013 9:28 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"
Replies: 298
Views: 65505

Re: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"

By contrast, remove all of the multicellular life on the planet, and the bacteria continue to thrive as they did for the first 3+ billion years of life on this planet. That's the point -- the bacteria would continue . That's your point. Mine is that without the bacteria, we would not continue. Does...
by Misanthropic Scott
Tue May 21, 2013 2:39 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"
Replies: 298
Views: 65505

Re: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"

Pfhorrest wrote:Here's a little more fuel to throw on the para/monophyletic fire: the word "animals" has a common lay sense which is exclusive of humans, despite the fact that humans are animals by any reasonable definition.

Animal, vegetable, or mineral? I'm an animal.
by Misanthropic Scott
Mon May 20, 2013 4:55 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"
Replies: 298
Views: 65505

Re: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"

Ehhh... people love to bring up the sheer prevalence of bacteria, but while they are common as dirt, its kind of meaningless really. If you look at the actual planet, it is primarily shaped by plants and animals, not bacteria. Sure, bacteria do have an impact, but if you look at the planet as a who...
by Misanthropic Scott
Mon May 20, 2013 4:39 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"
Replies: 298
Views: 65505

Re: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"

The "velociraptors" were the same size in the book as in the movie. If so, then I retract my statement. Both sucked. But, I don't really remember the book specifying a size for the raptors. Here's what reality would look like. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a6/Vraptor-sca...
by Misanthropic Scott
Mon May 20, 2013 2:54 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"
Replies: 298
Views: 65505

Re: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"

I've actually had an ongoing argument with my brother about this for the past few months. He insists that birds ARE dinosaurs, while I have remained adamant that they are just closely related, but definitely not the same kind of animal. Tonight, the battle's over. You win, little brother, you win. ...
by Misanthropic Scott
Sat May 18, 2013 8:06 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"
Replies: 298
Views: 65505

Re: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"

To be a classhole, I'll point out that while the we still have dinosaurs thing is amazing, that likewise there is no reasonable definition of fish that includes lobe finned fish, but doesn't include mammals such as people. The conclusion of this is you're unarguable scientific proof that your mom m...
by Misanthropic Scott
Sat May 18, 2013 2:03 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"
Replies: 298
Views: 65505

Re: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"

Klear wrote:Which, BTW, shows, that being a merciless killing machine doesn't automatically make an animal cool.

You must know by my blog moniker that I wholeheartedly agree with you on this one.
by Misanthropic Scott
Fri May 17, 2013 4:45 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"
Replies: 298
Views: 65505

Re: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"

BTW, for really scary animals, we should note that the largest carnivorous animal that ever lived is still alive. In fact, it is a carnivore (the behavior, not the clade) that is the largest animal of any kind that has ever lived. This is an animal so scary it can eat up to 40 million prey animals ...
by Misanthropic Scott
Fri May 17, 2013 12:35 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"
Replies: 298
Views: 65505

Re: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"

The Cat wrote:they're 100 ft long. 10' isn't really big proportional to its size. now, the barnacle has some swagger.

Ack.
by Misanthropic Scott
Thu May 16, 2013 10:13 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"
Replies: 298
Views: 65505

Re: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"

Well, you can always ask for more...but I wouldn't think California condors are really a substitute for an Argentavis nearly three times the size, and Kelenken are at least as tall as Utahraptors even if they haven't got the length. As MS says, it's not like we get many mammals bigger than that, ei...
by Misanthropic Scott
Thu May 16, 2013 8:41 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"
Replies: 298
Views: 65505

Re: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"

Meh, those aren't all that big and scary. I mean I want to see a 40ft ostrich hunting down herds of ordinary ones the way the tyrannosaur does gallimimus in Jurrasic Park. And I guess big flying birds really aren't that impressive to me come to think of it since I've seen plenty a California Condor...
by Misanthropic Scott
Thu May 16, 2013 7:02 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"
Replies: 298
Views: 65505

Re: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"

Kit. was referring to your definition of dinosaurs that expressed the variation that defines the group within its parent group, but didn't specify the parent group. Obviously, dinosaurs aren't "animals with erect posture," but "a group within the archosaurs that can be distinguished ...
by Misanthropic Scott
Thu May 16, 2013 4:49 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"
Replies: 298
Views: 65505

Re: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"

Let's make up a few sentences to display the value of paraphyletic vs. monophyletic groupings in actual life. "I need to buy an aquarium for a (fish/sarcopterigian)" "On vacation, we saw a whole lot of (fish/sarcopterigians)" "On vacation, I was bitten by a (fish/sarcopteri...
by Misanthropic Scott
Thu May 16, 2013 1:49 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"
Replies: 298
Views: 65505

Re: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"

Kit. wrote:...and also quite large human dinos, and even larger elephant dinos?

By dinos, I meant dinosaurs. Hummingbirds and ostriches are dinosaurs. Humans and elephants are not.
by Misanthropic Scott
Wed May 15, 2013 7:20 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"
Replies: 298
Views: 65505

Re: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"

Would you also argue that it makes sense to make the word mammal refer only to land mammals? Marine mammals have moved quite far away. Wouldn't it be practical to have a word like cetaceasireniapiniped to refer to marine mammals and make mammal == mammal - cetaceasireniapiniped? Excluding birds fro...
by Misanthropic Scott
Wed May 15, 2013 6:03 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"
Replies: 298
Views: 65505

Re: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"

Are you actually confused why pretty much all biologists until the last decade or so treated birds and reptiles as separate, even though they understood birds evolved from somewhere within the reptiles for a long time? It's because most of the family live around one part of character space, but the...
by Misanthropic Scott
Wed May 15, 2013 3:33 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"
Replies: 298
Views: 65505

Re: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"

Any English language word that does not map to a clade/taxa is not mapped to any scientific concept. That's a really bold claim, and one that doesn't pan out at all. Since the current examples are disputed, I'll offer another: prokaryote is not a clade and usually doesn't get treated as a taxon, bu...
by Misanthropic Scott
Wed May 15, 2013 2:49 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"
Replies: 298
Views: 65505

Re: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"

tofudragon7 wrote:this forum isn't letting me post a link for some reason


When you hit 5 posts, you can post links.
by Misanthropic Scott
Wed May 15, 2013 2:44 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"
Replies: 298
Views: 65505

Re: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"

... or computer programmers telling everyone else that it isn't really a kilometer unless it's 1024 meters. As an anal-retentive computer programmer (i.e. geek), I'd like to point out that this minor tangential issue has already been solved. http://physics.nist.gov/cuu/Units/binary.html 1024 meters...
by Misanthropic Scott
Wed May 15, 2013 2:37 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"
Replies: 298
Views: 65505

Re: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"

But "dinosaur" is a technical term, just one that has now entered into common vocabulary. Dinosaurs are the clade consisting of Triceratops , birds, their MRCA, and all its descendents. What you are proposing is actually redefining the word to accommodate general ignorance. Extremely well...
by Misanthropic Scott
Wed May 15, 2013 2:35 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"
Replies: 298
Views: 65505

Re: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"

I'm arguing the same with regards to "dinosaurs". That's a word already in common usage to describe a group of animals which, as it turns out, is paraphyletic, because birds share the same common ancestor but aren't counted in it. Rather than redefining the common word to mean something n...
by Misanthropic Scott
Tue May 14, 2013 8:24 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"
Replies: 298
Views: 65505

Re: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"

Oy! Hamburgers didn't evolve. Can we please stick to analogies within the field of biological evolution. But then people just focus on phylogenetics and assume everything needs to be clades, and so keep missing WriteBrainedJR's point, which is that for most purposes you care at least as much about ...
by Misanthropic Scott
Tue May 14, 2013 7:12 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"
Replies: 298
Views: 65505

Re: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"

Similarly, homo sapiens interbred with homo neanderthalensis. No one suggests that these are the same species. Eh? Is that a relatively recent development? I was taught that it was relatively common (but not a universal practice) the latter as a subspecies of homo sapiens . Homo sapiens neanderthal...
by Misanthropic Scott
Tue May 14, 2013 6:48 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"
Replies: 298
Views: 65505

Re: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"

I think whales testing drugs would be interested in finding similar animals. For humans, genetic similarity and physical or functional similarity tend to go hand-in-hand, because we evolved in a similar environment to many other mammals. That's not true for aquatic mammals. If you test a drug on pi...
by Misanthropic Scott
Tue May 14, 2013 1:59 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"
Replies: 298
Views: 65505

Re: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"

Like it or not, paraphyletic groups are the best ways to describe most things in our experience. In addition to the fish, monkey, etc. groups of animals explored thoroughly above, let us presuppose that all humans are descended from humanlike ancestors living in Africa. (I don't think this is unive...
by Misanthropic Scott
Tue May 14, 2013 9:12 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"
Replies: 298
Views: 65505

Re: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"

Actually, I'm going to need to ask for a link to something backing up that claim about insects. They may be the most diverse group of animals. They are certainly not more numerous than bacteria. A major problem with determining the number of bacteria species is that the classic definition of "...
by Misanthropic Scott
Tue May 14, 2013 2:21 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"
Replies: 298
Views: 65505

Re: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"

I'm sorry, Randall, but no matter how often you repeat the idea that birds being the descendants of dinosaurs is cool, that won't actually make it cool... Well sure. It's cool all on its own, whether Randall repeats it a lot or not. I always though that the "birds are dinosaurs" makes din...
by Misanthropic Scott
Tue May 14, 2013 12:56 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"
Replies: 298
Views: 65505

Re: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"

Is there an online Phylogenetic tree tool, where you can type in 2 species names, and get a visualization of the Phylogenetic tree/network that links the them? Keep in mind that as far as eating goes, though, those distant relationships matter much less than that lobsters are marine and have adapte...
by Misanthropic Scott
Tue May 14, 2013 12:50 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"
Replies: 298
Views: 65505

Re: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"

Randall's "birds are dinosaurs" argument doesn't quite hold up. A small pickup truck is a lot more like a hatchback than it is like an 18-wheeler, but that doesn't make it a car. (I know, somebody's probably made the same point already and nobody cares anyway. Let me have my pedantry.) Pi...
by Misanthropic Scott
Tue May 14, 2013 12:45 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"
Replies: 298
Views: 65505

Re: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"

On the flip side, you can't define "dinosaurs" without incidentally including "birds". You just can't. Given the flexibility of language and the breadth of human creativity, I think statements in the form of "you can't say A without mentioning B," are almost always bad...
by Misanthropic Scott
Mon May 13, 2013 4:12 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"
Replies: 298
Views: 65505

Re: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"

Actually, I'm going to need to ask for a link to something backing up that claim about insects. They may be the most diverse group of animals. They are certainly not more numerous than bacteria. The is very little nothing certain about species of bacteria; see for instance this article . You can fi...
by Misanthropic Scott
Mon May 13, 2013 3:58 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"
Replies: 298
Views: 65505

Re: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"

The article contains a proportional tree of life on this planet. The lengths of the branches represent number of species in the group. All three multi-cellular groups are just little twigs over on the right side of this enormous bush. Is it proportional to number of species? I didn't see that menti...
by Misanthropic Scott
Mon May 13, 2013 2:19 pm UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"
Replies: 298
Views: 65505

Re: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"

Bacteria really still reign supreme by every possible measure, number of species, number of individuals, and even by biomass. By number of described species, insects trump everything. This might be because bacterial species are hard to recognize, but it might be genuinely the case that bacteria hav...
by Misanthropic Scott
Mon May 13, 2013 5:57 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"
Replies: 298
Views: 65505

Re: 1211: "Birds and Dinosaurs"

I'd like to add another point to this post. Since there are just over 10,000 bird species and about 5,000 mammal species, extant bird species still outnumber extant mammal species by a factor of two. The age of dinosaurs may not really be over just yet, if there ever was such an age. Bacteria really...
by Misanthropic Scott
Mon Apr 08, 2013 7:45 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1196: "Subways"
Replies: 147
Views: 62915

Re: 1196: "Subways"

This is great. In the morning, I'm going to take the Path (not shown here) into the city (Manhattan) and then take the train to Mexico City. BTW, the Path is missing from this and does meet your qualifications for a subway. (I tried posting the link to the map, but got flagged and denied.) I wonder ...

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