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Re: Dumb Names (Prolacertiformes?)




Ken Kinman wrote:

[snip]
     Until it is sorted out (which could take many years), I continue to
recognize such groups as individual families (hopefully clades) of Order
Thecodontiformes, including:
Protorosauridae, Prolacertidae, Megalancosauridae, Tanystropheidae,
Sharovipterygidae, Longisquamidae, along with Doswelliidae,
Trilophosauridae, Rhynchosauridae, and the choristodere families.
[snip]
No need for a formal name Prolacertiformes, which is
obviously controversial, confusing, and an unnecessary name.

And "Thecodontiformes" isn't controversial, confusing and unnecessary???? At least the Prolacertiformes are monophyletic.

One of the problems with retaining even a vestige of the old concept of
"Thecodontia" is that it gets mistaken for a valid, natural grouping.
Example:

"So, if birds didn't evolve from theropod dinosaurs, what did they evolve
from?"
"From the thecodonts.  They were a diverse and successful group at the base
of the Archosauria, and included some obvious gliding and arboreal forms."
"Yes, but which *particular* group of thecodonts?"
"Oh, that's not important.  The thecodonts were so diverse that one of them
is sure to be related to the origin of birds."
" !!!??? "

Like the Condylarthra of old, the "Thecodontia" (your "Thecodontiformes") is
part wellspring and part wastebasket.  Either way, it's a dog's breakfast.
Rather than providing elucidation and clarification, it just confuses and
obscures relationships between groups.


Tim

(Clambering up on my soapbox too.)

------------------------------------------------------------

Timothy J. Williams

USDA/ARS Researcher
Agronomy Hall
Iowa State University
Ames IA 50014

Phone: 515 294 9233
Fax:   515 294 3163

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