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Re: New mammalian clade names

Insectivora is one those names that has lost its usefulness, because it has had so many different groups shoved into it and removed from it over the years. It is almost as bad as Vermes (which was abandoned long ago).
In 1994, I recognized Order Lipotyphliformes for the core group of "insectivores", but today we can't even be sure that it constitutes a natural group. It would be premature to subdivide lipotyphliforms just based on molecular data, but this could happen in the future (only time will tell).
But to return to a name like Insectivora would be a mistake in my opinion. It served its purpose at one time, but in retrospect it was about as advisable as a taxon called "Herbivora".
---------Ken Kinman

From: "Jaime A. Headden" <qilongia@yahoo.com>
Reply-To: qilongia@yahoo.com
To: dinosaur@usc.edu
CC: ELurio@aol.com
Subject: Re: New mammalian clade names
Date: Mon, 4 Sep 2000 15:40:54 -0700 (PDT)

Eric Lurio wrote:

<Why not just "insectivora?" If it contains MOST of
most of the traditional "Insectivora" then why not jut
let it keep the tradtional name?>

  Because Insectivora includes tenrecs, which are
being excluded, as well as a group of other forms, and
presently may be considered polyphyletic in consisting
of a series of forms, some of which (eg.,
macroscelids) are considered closer to archontans
(including bats and primates), or afrotheres (this
would be called Uranotheria). I also am not aware of a
phylogenetic definition for Insectivora, but the group
my be historically a polyphyletic assemblage. The only
apparent insectivores still considered in that same
"region" of the phylogeny would be talpids (moles) and
the like, as well as shrews.

  Insectivora could be considered a polyphyletic taxon
that represents a grade, not a natural unity
(primitive eutherians).

Jaime "James" A. Headden

  Dinosaurs are horrible, terrible creatures! Even the
  fluffy ones, the snuggle-up-at-night-with ones. You think
  they're fun and sweet, but watch out for that stray tail
  spike! Down, gaston, down, boy! No, not on top of Momma!

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