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Chris and Jaime,
I think everyone would agree that this article in the Phylocode is a
very good idea and will prevent such things from happening again. But of
course this does not solve the other problems I believe that "anchoring"
taxa causes. So it goes.
As for my "dissing" the testers (as Jaime put it), I am not criticizing
them for being testers. As I have said before, I believe cladistic analysis
is a wonderful tool, and I defend and encourage its use (just as Ashlock
did), and only criticize those who do not do it properly (such as one
prominent bacteriologist). What I object to is attaching formal names to so
many intermediate clades. The Ornithosuchia problem is going to be fixed,
as Chris has pointed out, but other problems will continue to haunt PT, and
the taxonomic landscape is going to be a confusing mess for some time to
come. Too many names, even if we didn't have the anchoring problems and
incompatible definitions for the same names.
If I really thought we would emerge from the other side of this messy
transition with a stable taxonomy, I wouldn't be quite so worried. However,
I believe strict cladists are going to be surprised by unanticipated
instability in PT in the future, and after a great deal of frustration and
confusion, it will eventually become necessary to fuse phylocodes and
traditional codes into some kind of cladisto-eclectic system anyway.
My position is that we should have implemented such a fusion a long
time ago, but cladists and eclecticists have spent the last 30 years butting
heads instead of cooperating to fashion a "middle ground" approach.
Now that it is becoming a reality, I have no desire to see the
Phylocode fail, because that would only increase the confusion. But on the
other hand, I do think its results will be disappointing. If it is a great
success five years down the road, you guys can poke fun at me and say that
you "told me so". Only time will tell who is being overly optimistic and
who is being overly pessimistic. In the meantime, I will continue to
criticize both sides, strict eclecticists (such as "Feducciaries") and
strict cladists. Long live cladistic "analysis"!!!!
From: chris brochu <email@example.com>
Subject: RE: crocodile reversed or normal
Date: Thu, 24 Aug 2000 07:53:55 -0600
>Ken Kinman wrote:
><And everyone agrees that Family Ornithosuchidae is a
>member of clade Archosauria, but the confusion has
>been in which archosaur subclade it belongs. In the
>1980's it was placed in the subclade Ornithosuchia,
>and there was no confusion. But in the 1990's, Sereno
>discovered that it really belongs in Pseudosuchia.
>Unfortunately Ornithosuchia was not cladistically
>anchored on genus _Ornithosuchus_, so cladists have
>the confusing situation of Family Ornithosuchidae
>placed in Pseudosuchia instead of Ornithosuchia. This
>used to confuse me, it seems to have confused you, and
>it will continue to confuse others until the cladists
>get their PT taxonomy straightened out...>
It should be pointed out that in the draft PhyloCode (article 11, I think),
this kind of situation will not arise - if one uses a member taxon's name
as the root for a clade name, that member taxon must also be the specifier.
The importance of doing this wasn't appreciated early in the history of
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