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Unified cladistics, et al.
Well, having read the "Unified Cladistics" thread as it stands thus far, it
strikes me that there is a need for a society or organisation similar to
ICZN to keep track of an ever-growing database on phylogenetic systematics.
I propose this database keep a record of all known specimens down to catscan
details in one place and then send the text-based clipnotes of this data to
a website so that it is available to researchers. I am beginning to
understand that this would not do the wrok for us, more that it would help
us having to do the same bits of work many times over independently when we
needn't have to.
Problems I can see with this:
1.Results would for the moment be biased in favour of anatomical features
which could fit inside current catscans.
2.The cost!!!!!!!!!!!!! but I'm sure it'd be no more than you spend on a
state-of-the-art genetics lab
3.The size of the mother database - if Wankel's T-rex skull took up a
gigabyte of information to record, how much would all the currently known
dinosaur material take up?
I appreciate that my brainchild is currently unfeesible, but it might be
something worth striving for. (I'd set up a small-scale version myself if
someone would fund me :) )
----- Original Message -----
From: Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. <email@example.com>
To: dinosaur <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Thursday, November 18, 1999 11:11 AM
Subject: More problems with "Unified Cladistics"
> One last post on this subject by me today:
> Something laymembers of the list might not be aware of is that there is
> still some debate about the homologies of various bones in particular
> taxa. This is NOT so much a problem in dinosaurs at present (okay, the
> finger thing in theropods...), but in some other fossil verts it is most
> certainly the case!
> A good example of this is the postorbital region of ichthyosaurs: there
> two camps who disagree over whether a certain bones are supratemporals or
> squamosals or new ossifications or whatnot. Since there still remains
> observational differences about this topic, how can there be an accepted
> Universal Data Set for Ichthyopterygia?
> (For what it is worth, John Merck's disseration and post-disseration work
> showing that this difference in postorbital bone homology identification
> doesn't actually affect the position of ichthyosaurs within the Diapsida,
> but that is another topic for another time).
> Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
> Vertebrate Paleontologist
> Department of Geology Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
> University of Maryland College Park Scholars
> College Park, MD 20742
> Phone: 301-405-4084 Email: email@example.com
> Fax (Geol): 301-314-9661 Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-314-7843