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Old 03-06-2017, 03:08 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
SD Curator of Critters
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Panama
Posts: 38,692
Originally Posted by Lemur866 View Post
But isn't it the case that classic snakes form a real clade (within "lizards"), but the various random legless lizards that aren't snakes are not members of that clade?
True. But "lizards" don't form a clade, and the name does not have taxonomic significance.

So snake doesn't just have to mean "a lizard without legs".
But it originally did. Glass snake is the traditional name for glass lizards. It was changed to reflect what was thought to be their taxonomy. But since "lizard" has no taxonomic meaning, the change was not justified on those grounds.

Just like "ape" doesn't have to mean "a monkey with no tail".


Also, it turns out that whales are artiodactyls! Birds are reptiles! Turkeys are from North America! Common names for animals were not assigned systematically! It's a disaster!
That's my point. "Snake" and "lizard" and "reptile" and "ape" are common names with no taxonomic significance, so it's not necessary to change them to reflect taxonomy.

Last edited by Colibri; 03-06-2017 at 03:10 PM.