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Re: T-J Extinction event article (more media errors?)



In a message dated 5/14/01 7:18:08 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
tmk@dinosauricon.com writes:


> Right now, if I want to establish a taxonomic name, all I have to do is
> publish it in a publication, which is suitably defined under the ICZN. I
> don't have to "register" it anywhere. Under the PhyloCode, the name would
> >have< to be "submitted" to the database. That right there strikes me as
> irksome.

But less irksome in the long run. It would be far easier to check for
preoccupied names, to look up particulars on any given name, etc. And
registration is not a mammoth task, anyway. You go to a webpage and fill
out a few forms. It'd take you about 5-15 minutes per taxon


With instant arbitration over whether a name has been properly published or
not, and an authoritative declaration that the name is now available for
use--something I should think George would appreciate, given the problems he
has had in the past getting his names recognized.

What bothers me more is the unamendable definitions PhyloCode would introduce
(if I understand it correctly).  Say, for instance, I have two genera, A and
B, and I determine on the basis of current evidence that they are sister
taxa, so I define each as a stem-based taxon opposed to the other:

Genus A={type of A > type of B}
Genus B={type of B > type of A}

Now say I go out and dig up weird-ass critter C, which, on the basis of
certain shared characters, I am able to determine is more closely related to
the type specimen of A than it is to the type of B.  

Under the current system, I can give weird-ass critter C a new generic name,
to reflect its weird-assedness, and represent its proximity to A on a
phylogenetic tree.  But if Genus A has already been *defined* as all
organisms closer to the type of A than to the type of B, and this definition
cannot be amended, then I am *forced* to place C in genus A, and I feel this
goes against the spirit of a genus.

Basically, I think the flexibility currently present at the genus level needs
to be preserved, so perhaps PhyloCode should only apply to suprageneric taxa.
 What, then, is a genus?  Well, maybe it can just be defined as the first
part of the binomial.

--Nick P.