Paleontologists are picky about what they call a “dinosaur.” To an extent, I get it. I don’t really care if Dimetrodon’s hips pointed out or down, but if it was cold-blooded, then it’s a different thing. Fine. But excluding pterosaurs and swimming non-fish, egg-laying vertebrates seems unreasonable. From the old-style books I read back in the day, I gathered that at least one reason for the distinction was that they figured that those things would have to be warm-blooded, while the consensus was that dinosaurs were cold-blooded. You know, reptiles. But even then I was skeptical of that. I mean, brachiosaurus having to stay in a lake just to keep themselves up?
So now that we know that dinosaurs were warm blooded, and keeping in mind that we’re okay saying that bats and whales are mammals, I think it’s time to include flying and swimming creatures in the definition of “dinosaurs.” It’s fair, it’s intuitive, and it’s probably how most people use the word anyway.
Let’s all agree to just do the right thing.