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Paraphyly is a term in cladistics. It means a group which does not include all its descendents.[1][2] So Sauropsida without birds is paraphyletic, since birds are definitely descended from archosaurs, probably small theropod dinosaurs (origin of birds).

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Paraphyly is corrected to monophyly when the missing group(s) are included. So if birds are included in Sauropsida, the larger group is then monophyletic. Traditional classification is often paraphyletic.

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  1. King R.C. Stansfield W.D. & Mulligan P.K. 2006. A dictionary of genetics. 7th ed, Oxford, 322 .

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    ISBN 0-19-530761-5
  2. Futuyma, Douglas J. 2005. Evolution. Sinauer Associates: Sunderland, Massachusetts, 45.

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    ISBN 0-87893-187-2