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Re: "Megapnosaurus" says farewell...



On Mon, 4 Feb 2002 00:07:59   
 T. Mike Keesey wrote:
>On Sun, 3 Feb 2002, Rob Gay wrote:
>
>> Now now now...we all here onlist know that I, more than possibly anyone else
>> onlist, think that these two genera should be synonymous...but sinking one
>> name into another should be based on science, not aesthetics...
>
>Too bad there is no real scientific method for determining what belongs to
>a genus. 

Certainly.  Every Linnaean rank above species, as mentioned in a previous post, 
is completely arbitrary and based on the observer.  David Marjanovic often 
laments about the definition of an "order."  The question just about drove 
Tracy Ford crazy :-))  I don't blame anyone who goes crazy over these ranks.  
Nothing more than personal philosophy dictates what a family or phylum is.  To 
me, though, the genus may be the most puzzling.  There is absolutely nothing to 
designate whether two animals should be put in the same genus or two separate 
genera.  I mean, if I wanted to I _could_ place _Syntarsus_ (the beetle!) and a 
rabbit in the same genus.  Who would stop me?  It may seem ridiculous...but 
there is no convenient definition, a la species.

I have never quite understood why _Psittacosaurus_ has something like seven or 
eight valid species, but _Coelophysis_, _Syntarsus_ (Raath), _Eucoelophysis_, 
etc. were placed in separate genera.  It's aesthetic philosophy, not science 
sensu stricto.

Steve

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Steve Brusatte-DINO LAND PALEONTOLOGY
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