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Re: Dinosaur subspecies names?

Mike Wall (mike@bike2nature.co.uk) wrote:

<Whether C.c.corone and C.c.cornix are different species or not (which IMHO 
they're not), they
certainly wouldn't be differentiable as fossils. For Dendroica et al, also read 
the old world
warblers _Phylloscopus_, _Locustella_, _Acrocephalus_, etc. To be honest I 
doubt if many modern
genera of birds could be differentiated by skeletal features alone, so I do 
wonder about some of
the claims being made for the fossil record.>

  Hence the paradox of the genus definition. The neontologists insist the 
paleontologists must see
the genus by neontological means (impossible, no genetic testing performable) 
or the
paleontologists insist the neontologists see the genus as a strict 
morphological unit, therefore
dismission such evidence as nest construction, behavior, calls (there is 
morphology here,
actually, in the form of the passeriform syrynx, etc.), plumage coloration and 
pennate count in
the wings or tail.

  But do either group have a monopoly over the other? No. Both cases work for 
the respective
fields. It's a pity there's no overlap, though modern taxa do carry some 
morphological diagnoses,
there's been a trend of mophology-based analyses, as well as molecular ones. 
That they differ in
results somewhat depending on the specificity of the analysis (but typically 
only in some areas,
they hold true in general between the two of them for a single clade) indicates 
that both will
yield different results no matter what. And certainly both have their faults. I 
hold neither above
the other in relative "truth" offered.

Jaime A. Headden

  Little steps are often the hardest to take.  We are too used to making leaps 
in the face of adversity, that a simple skip is so hard to do.  We should all 
learn to walk soft, walk small, see the world around us rather than zoom by it.

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