3. Kelenken (Fuck the Mesozoic, take that Argentavis, Carnosaurs are overrated)
2. Balaur (duh)
Let it never be said that Tianyulong didn't change everything...
because, my god, Tianyulong changed everything... the world is so different now. Everytime I open my eyes now, the world just seems so... uninportant, you know? It's like, I already know the meaning of life, so what else is there? Only in this situation, the consequences are far more dire.
It's like... I don't know. I've never felt this way about an Ornithischian before. The emotions are just beyond my ability to deal with. I'm in a very vulnerable place right now, ever since Tianyulong changed everything forever.
I'm actually not being melodramatic. Tinayulong yanked my heart around like sheltered manchildren are confused by people like Mana and cartoon characters that are male but painfully attractive (because in a cartoon you can just fudge it). Which brings me to why I am suddenly motivated to write right now. (hehehe)
Mana is a hot mess. My one complaint: what the fuck is up with those shoes? He always wears like, 5 inch mary janes with a stupid looking three inch platform. It's like, it looks okay, but really, why bother? I like this her picture because he can rock that flat chest like nobody's business. His music, however, is somewhat okay at best.
Pop Quiz: What does the word gender mean?
a. I don't know
b. more polite way of saying sex
c. social and cultural constructs
d. the basis for all sexism
It's actually (d) as far as I'm concerned, but, of course, the real answer is (c). Now, next question:
What does sex mean?
a. Present tense sexual reproduction
b. Which end of that whole process you are on (male or female)
c. both of those
d. all of the above
The answer, of course, is (d). If you picked (c) you got it wrong. Sex applies only to sexual reproduction. As in, "gettin' it on." In this "whole process," you get two types of sex: ZW for female and WW for male (XY system in mammals, but who gives a shit about non-dinosaurs?), and the two have "interlocking" parts that bring all those nifty little gametes together and babies happen. There's more to the story, but I'm working towards a point here.
Sexual reproduction is great because, unlike the other kind, the chances for mutation are through the roof. Literally anything can go wrong at any time, and I'm not just talking about how the offspring have a combination of the genes of both parents, I mean the whole fucking system is just flimsy. I mean, really magnificently easy to produce mutant babies from beyond the grave. Like, having ZWZ and WWZ kids and shit, just a paper-thin disguise for a non-functioning system.
And just like the male and female ends of a RCA wire, there is always going to be some inherent sexual dimorphism. This is a simple unavoidable fact of life as a screwing organism. Dinosaurs, of course, don't stop there. Male dinosaurs are typically (haha, I mean always, I was just joking) dainty, gorgeous, and singularily attractive. The females are huge, drab, ugly, protect the kids, and are attracted TO the males, because they are all so fucking bueatiful. I humans, it is generally considered to be the opposite, although as I understand it, males can be attractive in their own way. I don't believe this, but I've heard sentiments that echo this sort of thing.
Okay, so what is gender then? Is your gender male or female? No, that's your sex. Just think back to buying cables at a Best Buy, male and female refer to different "parts," and the dinosaur fashion slaves are just born that way, but that isn't the rule for all sexual dimorphism. Sagittarius. 'Nuff said.
Is your head bleeding from the exposition hammer yet? Because if someone who doesn't know this is reading, I need to make sure people of all comprehension levels can understand what I'm saying.
Now, in humans, sexual dimorphism is very faint. Female's breasts get much larger at puberty because they are mammals, and thats where the milk goes. In mammals, the females have the milk, but, pay attention, before they reach puberty, they have the same chest as a male. The hips are also wider, because they have to squeeze a whole working womb in there. Beyond the stuff that absolutely has to differ in order for each sex to play out their role, the difference is so subtle that it isn't even worth mentioning here.
So everything you have been conditioned to believe in your culture, what the social norms are, fashion, personality, stereotypes, everything is created entirely BY that culture. Females aren't born wearing heels, that is something that is created by these cultural expectations, and this is what we call a "Gender Role" or "Gender Identity." Gender meaning which "role" or "identity" and individual posesses or identifies with.
It is commonly agreed that there are four accepted, basal, "component," or whatever the fuck you want to call them, genders. Masculine, Feminine, Androgynous, and Neutral/Asexual. Mas. and Fem. are the basis of sexism, they are stereotypes created by a specific culture that each sex is expected to conform to in order to be properly a "man" or "woman." Androgynous is sort of a mix of both, but with it's own set of rules, and neutral is, well, removed from the whole affair in the same way that atheists are removed from religion: instead of just saying "I don't have one," they say they are "neutral" because they fell that they have to check a box regardless of whether or not they support that system in the first place.
Now, this is all backstory. This is the year 2010, which was considered the future in early Megaman games. Genders are outdated, ridiculed, ignored, taken for granted, and played with. They no longer mean anything to the average person, because the average person is not a sexist, and has no reason to expect others to conform to a gender role because of their sex. There are, of course, crazy people, as well as the aforemention confused nerds who simply can't deal with a male being presented in a feminine way, not because they are sexist, but because it makes them question their own sexual orientation, which I think is hilarious, but I know plenty of people who don't share my affection for Mana.
Me? I don't want to have to pick, but I'm neutral. I say neutral and not "I don't have one" because I'm actually all of them to aproximately equal degress. I'm a future person (P.C.), and those things are beneath me. But genders are a big deal to me because I find them extremely interesting. Not as neat as dinosaurs, or course, but worthy of further study nonetheless.
And so while it is probably a good thing for the progression of civil rights, equality, and cultural respect that the word gender actually lose it's meaning altogether, but, like I said, this is kind of important to me. What is sad is that it's the year 2010, and I still see forms with "gender" being a field, and the answer choices being male or female, not actual genders. I rant about this all the fucking time, and so here I am, doing it again.
I have another thing I want to cover, but let me close this by saying that for the past hour or so I've been reading these blogs by weeaboos talking about some girls-only club that happened in 2008 or so. The consistently used the word gender and not sex, but the context was so flimsy that it could've gone either way. There were a couple of guys who would not disclose their "gender," confusing fans and foes alike, and sparking guessing games that are so full of obscure references to things I hate that I had a hard time understanding what the hell they were talking about.
What I did get from it is that, even though this clique is pretty shallow on the surface, not a one of them really gives a shit about what sex the others are. What they seem to be mildly interested in, you might have guessed, is what they call "traps," which are feminine males who squick out heterosexuals that can't tell the difference between a male and female. I actually read this one post where I guy actually went full on girly for a day (or so, whatever) in the interest of becoming a "trap," which some of the readers actually encouraged. This is fantastic, and if these are the males that culture breeds, then I want it to survive forever.
I'm going to post the link to what I'm talking about, but be warned that if you are easily squicked by tomgirls, you should not look at this. I'm extremely serious. It's a cool little thing, but please, one guy that I noticed is "following" me (fucking stalker) and whoever else stumbles on to this, click at your own risk. It might actually be NSFW, but it's probably just "gross." It's here.
And for the record, that's not how it works. Skirts are supposed to "puff out" on the side, not the front. You're fucking doing it wrong, poser. Plus, I hate your shoes, you don't to call yourself a "trap" if you're wearing flats, you moron. Flats suck = science fact. The socks are cool though. Plus, other than the obvious, it does come off as really pretty. So, good job.
This is accurate. It makes me feel all wierd inside, because, like, in my time (Cenozoic::Quarternary:Anthropocene), ALL dinosaurs are covered in feathers. We get skin impressions from dinosaurs much larger than the ones alive now, and science says that the "Elephant Effect" must be true. But, because of my frame of reference, this, an accurate rendering of a sub-adult Triceratops, just feels so wrong. I can't remember the artist's name, but it's on deviantart, so... there.
Now, enough crap. What you really came to here me bitch about is cladistics, isn't it? Here are some of my least favorite words: bird, reptile, fish, and bug. What do these words mean? Nothing, and thats the problem.
Let's get one thing straight: words that have only one meaning, that is, words that are defined by one academic discipline can not be given some arbitrary new meaning by someone who doesn't understand that discipline. What a word means, of course, is different from both connotation and popular phraseology, and this is where these words piss me off EVEN MORE that confusing gender and sex. I saved the best for last.
I'll close on dinosaurs, so I'll start outside Deuterostomates.
This word is my least favorite, even more than bird, because unlike the others, this word NEVER MEANT ANYTHING EVER. What is a bug?
Oh, you know, like insects and stuff.
Insects... and stuff? So, we're talking about out to Hexapods? Bug is a common name for hexapods?
Um... what? No, like creepy crawlies, you know, spiders and...
SPIDERS?! I though you said insects?
Yeah, those too.
So, spiders are... arachnids, then... shit, grouped up with myriapods, right? My arthropod tree is a little rusty, but I'm pretty sure you're telling me that "bug" is synonymous with "Arthopod."
No, creepy crawlies.
You're an idiot, now prepare to die.
Bottom line, polyphly doesn't even begin to describe this word. It means nothing. Next.
Fish and reptile are in the same boat, but fish has it worse, because "Pisces" hasn't been used in LINAEAN taxonomy since... like, the fucking 1700's or some shit. Now we have Chordates. "Fish," working backwards, would need to cover every animal that has "fish" in it's name that is actually a chordate, then. Because of hagfish, then, this goes to... Agnathans? Cephalochordata? Pretty far. I'm not a fish guy, so I don't know, but it covers far more than what you would think. But that's okay, because those guys are, essentially, fish, so it works out. The paraphly here is unbelievable, though. It's so thick you can taste it. I'm reasonably certain calling a tetrapod a "fish with legs" is pretty common, but the further you take it the more people you lose. I snuck up behind this lepidosaur and took it's legs, and then he's all "I'm a fish with legs," and I say "snake, you don't even HAVE legs!"
Like that. But fish has no agreed clade name, so, really, it's perfectly natural to question naming dinosaurs as fish, because, really, fish doesn't mean anything. It COULD be a real clade, but it isn't really used in any such way, and if it were, the connection would be tenuous, because, again, nothing even close to fish is used as a name early enough to catch the whole clade.
Reptile is a little different, because in the first Mortal Kombat, he had both Scorpion and Sub-Zero's moves, an attribute that was later adopted by Chameleon, who is not officially even labelled as a Zaterran.
Up until (very) recently, reptile was a real thing, and for what it's worth, it is still used (debateable, no one uses Linaean taxonomy) in that thing I just said. Of course, this is classically defined as turtles, lepidosaurs, crocodilians, and a number of extinct forms (including some, but not all, dinosaurs). The only way to make this work is to set reptile to the last common ancestor of all of these groups, which makes all tetrapods more derived than "amphibians" reptiles. Basically, Diapsids, Synapsids, and Anapsids.
And this means dinosaurs and mammals are reptiles. When humans looked at this transcribed cladogram, they had somehow decided that by some miracle, they don't count. So, for no fucking reason, reptiles are now "Amniotes," and mammal-like reptiles are not actually reptiles anymore, although I've always thought that name is redundant.
So they took reptile away, leaving it with a linaean (as in "not real") meaning. Obviously, it's paraphyletic. Hence, it means nothing, and isn't a real group. This pisses me off because the only reason the name changed is because a bunch of humans got their panties in a bunch because they don't like the CONNOTATION of being a reptile. The reptile clade is totally solid, it's just not called reptiles anymore. Doesn't make any damn sense.
As a dinosaur (and I do mean theropod) guy, this one pisses me off the most. I'll preface this by saying that, despite all the bullshit, this word DOES have a stable and genuine meaning. Crown group dinosaurs are birds, but nothing else is.
Quick! What are the defining traits of a bird? Flight and feathers? Okay, since protofeathers, O-quills (a name I just invented) and pycnofibres are all essentially the same thing, does that mean all Ornithodirans are birds?
Nah, let's be fair. None of us where prepared for Tianyulong, so lets take it down a notch. You mean flying dinosaurs. Okay, thats paraves. Paraves covers it all. Problem is, "bird" was in use long before we had this shit sorted out, and paraves was very long in the making. Good news is, it has, most of the time, always included another maniraptoran group, and has included all of them at least once. So, should we back it up to maniraptoran because Oviraptors have a pygostyle? No need. Modern paraves fits our description pretty well. The most popular "non-bird birds" were always Deinonychosaurs anyways, and it's because they are, well, related.
But calling Troodon a bird is very sketchy. I mean, don't get me wrong, Deinonychosaurs get called birds all the fucking time, but it is not taken so literally, and a more conservative definition is preferd by the people doing the actual work, and like I said, they get to decide what the definition of a biology term is. So what is it a common name for?
Aves. Aves = Birds. Great starting place. Now, where do we put aves? The original definition is crown group + Archaeopteryx, but, as you should be aware, Archaeopteryx is just a basal parave that was never really held up to modern standards because suggesting it is anything other than a bird is heretical... even though it has a long tail, and no keel. This puts us back where we started, so we have to ignore Archaeopteryx.
Now we get to Avialians. This is already the name of the clade, and it means "bird-like," so not all Avialians can be birds. That's cool, because Scansoriopterygids have long bony tails, unlike true birds. This is the most acceptable crown group plus usage of bird, and many times Aves will be used as the clade that combines Confuciusornithes with all more derived Avialians.
And what is that group? Ornithoraces, Ornithuromorphs, Ornithurines? Doesn't have a name, it changes depending on who you ask. It contains Enantiornithes and all more derived pygostylians, which is the actual name for "aves." Thats right, aves doesn't go where we put it, because that clade already has a name.
So what if we just use crown groups? That puts us at "neornithes," an outdated term that only exists because we at one time needed to include Archaeopteryx in linaean aves. However, because aves has become an orphaned child crying to the winds for it's parents, Neornithes has, genuinely, taken it's place.
Really, then, there IS no place for a clade named "aves" because all appropriate clades are already named, and a handful actually have several overlapping names, like the aforementioned ornithoraces, ornithurines, and ornithuromorpha. But birds DOES have a meaning. At the very least, we know it means cg dinos, and it has a clade name equivalent for which it is the common name counterpart.
So... what? In order for aves to become a clade, we need to replace a preexisting word, which seems extremely likely, because aves will predate any extinct clade name, and take priority of wherever we decide to put it. Agreement is a joke. My advice? Just dump Neornithes, since thats what birds actually means anywhicways.
But for the love of Godzilla, please reach some sort of consensus. I can't read papers about Avialians because I never have any idea what the fuck they're talking about. They use the same words in different contexts without bothering to tell you. It's fucking retarded.
And if birds = pygostylians? You've wasted a pretty kickass clade name for nothing. Nothing really makes as much sense as "pygostylians." Birds or no, there is no clade quite as solid as "Avialians with a pygostyle." It's like, BAM, you know? No one ever asks what a pygostylian is. It's in the damn name.
Also, Confuciusornis is fucking gorgeous. You know that picture of Mana up at the top? That guy is ultimate pug fugly like Beth's face compared to Confuciusornis.
But then, that's not really fair, because male dinosaurs are born bueatiful. They don't have to use giant sunglasses to create optical illusions with their face. Not that I do, I'm just saying.
...sure does pay off, though. In cinematography the other day, Jordan (the girl who played Mr. Cameo in... you're not gonna know, forget it) told me I have "nice lips," which was a first. I'm WW, in case you couldn't tell. I guess that makes me a "trap." Because, of course, why would a male be feminine other than as a part of some cruel joke? Surely one wouldn't be un-ironically THAT girly.
I'm being sarcastic, like the jackass masculine Maddox fanboy that I am. Has your head exploded yet? How about PRO-gress and CON-gress!?.
Progress being what John Maus is afraid of. Also, being in the presence of a living legend.
I'm just kidding, Maus is pretty cool. In fact, you could say he's a fucked up maniac. I wouldn't, but you can. Gary War is better any day of the week, and I'm Tim Koh's biggest fan.
Maybe I should just cut here and do a Ariel Pink post later.