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Cladistics and names
Ok, this isn't really a dino question. Sue me. But with all the
cladistics discussed here, I figure someone can help me out.
It has been mentioned that the "rank" concept in Linnean taxonomy gets
pretty much tossed by the wayside in cladistics. Ok, I can deal with
this looking at the blizzard of names that "pure" cladistics creates (as
a fault with the system, this is a REALLY minor quibble so if this
comment has annoyed you, chill). However, the rank system did have the
advantage in that you could tell in most cases what level in the
hierarchy a name referred to by its ending; for example, -idae was for
families as everyone here I am assuming is well aware. But with the
loss of the ranks, how do you handle the endings you place on names and
is there any way at all of having some idea where in the structure a
group name is without having access to the particular cladogram being
used by the person who mentioned the name? All the references I have
read on this were either as clear as mud or mimiced english in that the
exceptions were far more common than examples that followed the rule.
Anyone who can help to clear up this little bit of confusion will be
held in high esteem.