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RE: a rose by any other name(was fish & dogs)



Philidor11 wrote...
>Less problematic, then, but still problematic, as shown by your list of
>examples and the endless discussions of the coding and relative
significance
>of characters of basal whatnots here on the list.  If the greatest weakness
>of a classification system which carves out groups of species (I know, but
>taxa are right up there with bosons in public understanding) based on
>obvious differences from other species is fuzzy examples at the margins, if
>that's the controlling argument, then the superiority of a phylogenetic
>taxonomy is a very fine distinction, uncompelling for marketing purposes.

    The advantage of phylogenetic taxonomy is that you can (hypothetically)
give twenty different cladists (assuming they accept priority in using
phylogenetic definitions) a given cladogram and have them apply taxon names
exactly the same.  Of course, this doesn't always work because some
taxonomists have been coming up with for reasons in replacing neatly defined
taxon names for pretty frivilous aesthetic reasons that would seem silly
applied to genera or species (e.g. "Pseudosuchia" means "false crocodile"
but it includes crocodiles...dear God we can't have that!  People who only
speak Latin might be confused!).  Hopefully, Phylocode will help put and end
to that.  Of course, membership within groups continues to do a lot of
shifting as it did before cladistics, but then again, people are playing
with phylogeny more these days.  At least strict prioritizing cladistic
taxonomists can agree on how to apply the names once the tree is built.

Ken Kinman wrote in a slightly different thread...
>      I'll make you a deal.  If you can convince any major university to
> establish a Department of Ceratopsia which is equivalent to their
Department
> of Ornithology, then I will consider Ceratopsia as a separate class.

    How does...
1) Paleontology generally not being a well funded or supported program
compared to biology and...
2) Most universities having much easier access to birds as subjects of study
then ceratopsians
...have bearing on how animals should be classified?

>      By the way, does anyone know if any universities have yet combined
> their bird and reptile specimens into one big collection?

    If they a had a bunch of extant dromeosaur, ceratosaur, and basal
archosaur specimens to blur the line, they might.  This is a shameful case
of species descrimination against disadvantaged extinct taxa.

LNJ
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Procrastination is the thief of time- Edward Young
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Jeffrey W. Martz
Graduate student, Department of Geosciences, Texas Tech University
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