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Re: AMARGASAURUS (& taxonomy generally)



In a message dated 9/5/00 6:21:21 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
kinman@hotmail.com writes:

>       Mother nature has indeed done us a favor by only giving us a tiny 
>  sliver of taxonomic diversity to classify, and plenty of big gaps where we 
>  can draw our arbitrary lines around taxa.
>        Unfortunately phylogenetic taxonomy, especially at higher taxonomic 
>  levels, has gone beyond what Hennig envisioned, and the automatic 
conversion 
>  of cladograms into strict cladifications (and ignoring the paraphyletic 
>  nature of speciation)

Ah, but the first part of this quote removes the rationale for the second.  
Nature has given us a finite set of individuals to look at.  All we have to 
do is determine the interrelationships of those individuals (hard in 
practice, but easy in theory), and it is a rather simple matter to draw 
monophyletic species, genera, families, etc., around them--species, genera, 
and other groups that, at least preliminarily, *consist only of those 
individuals included in the study*.

Arguing about which genus to assign the common ancestor of all 
Dicraeosauridae to (a common ancestor we've never seen and almost certainly 
never will) is about as useful as arguing about how many angels can dance on 
the head of a pin.

Nick Pharris