This section of The Dinosaur Fan is an attempt to present life forms by their common names based on cladistics which group and differentiate various classifications of life on Earth into taxonomic ranks including domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species. I derived the common names from simplified cladograms* I created based on my interpretation of exhaustive works by many paleontologists, biologists,
and scholars and relied heavily on The Taxonomicon and fossilworks with augmentation from Tree of Life Web Project , Mikko's Phylogeny Archive , and various Wikipedia articles. Notable exceptions include the following from which I obtained considerable information:
It is important to acknowledge two factors involved in this section of The Dinosaur Fan. First, there are numerous "authoritative" cladograms available and more often than not they differ from each other to one degree or another, sometimes significantly. Second, I built the core of this section of the website during the second half of 2014. Over time, theories of evolution and family group associations change as new evidence and/or lines of thought emerge. While I will do my best to modify my material as appropriate to keep pace with modern theory, this section of the website was extremely labor intensive and major modifications will be slow in coming.
*A cladogram is a branching diagram representing the minimum (i.e., core) derived characteristics within supposedly related groups of life forms (e.g., animals). The cladogram provides a visual aid for the development of a hypothesis of the evolutionary closeness (kinship) of the various groups of life forms. In other words, a cladogram can be used to visualize hypotheses (educated guesses) as to which groups of life forms are more closely related to each other than to other groups of life forms. A cladogram is not a representation of the path that evolution took in producing various life forms. The branching pattern of a cladogram is intended to show the relative relationships among various life forms but in most cases it does not show a true "evolutionary tree" for those life forms.