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Re: Benton and Kinman (long)
> > He obviously recognizes Crocodylia sensu lato and separates Aves from
> > Reptilia.
> Hm. It doesn't look to me like he separates Aves from Reptilia. It looks
like he stuffs a "class" (Aves) into a "division" (Maniraptora) (which is
really what you're doing, too, if you'd only admit it), which really seems
to stretch the concept of rank beyond usefulness.
And he puts that division into Class Reptilia. A class within a class, and
Infraphylum Gnathostomata within an unnamed subclass of Class Agnatha (which
is marked as paraphyletic, like Reptilia). And so on. I think he uses ranks
to give an idea of how "big" (diverse, whatever") a clade is. Very few of
his groups are paraphyletic.
IMHO it becomes impossible to remember what the ranks are intended to mean,
and which ranks there are in the first place. Dropping all rank names makes
it all much easier.