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Caleb's question (ranks)




Caleb,
The easiest taxonomic rank to recognize is the Family, because all zoological family names end with the suffix -idae. Family Spinosauridae is an example. Subfamilies end with -inae. In botany and bacteriology the family names end with the suffix -aceae, such as Family Rosaceae (rose family).
Unfortunately there is no formally recognized standard suffix for the Orders and Classes of animals. Since bird and fish Orders already had the standardized suffix -iformes, I extended such standardization to all chordate Orders, but without mandating typification (examples: Pterosauriformes, Ichthyosauriformes, Primatiformes, Rodentiformes, Carnivoriformes). For most invertebrate Orders, the suffix -ida is widely used. Botanists do standardize ordinal names with the -ales suffix.
When you get to Class rank, there are no rules, for either zoology or botany. Because of that, I decided to take the bull by the horns (so to speak) in my 1994 classification of organisms. All 269 Classes which I recognized were emended (when necessary) to a standardized -ea suffix, whether botanical or zoological, and in a majority of cases it only required the change of a single letter. Whether this eventually catches on or not is anybody's guess. There has been a reluctance to standardize endings in the past, although my decision not to mandate typification should remove a major cause of such reluctance. And phylogenetic taxonomists don't like ranks at all, so no point in trying to convince them.
Anyway, Caleb, I have tried to move toward names that are clearly designated as to rank. Oh, and you asked about genera too---they are generally italicized or underlined, but if phylogenetic taxonomy adopts certain proposals, italics may be used for non-genus taxa (that remains to be seen).
-----Ken Kinman
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