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RE: Gauthier & de Quieroz et al.



Georg Fuellen, Johann-Wolfgang Wagele, Robert Giegerich, et al., have, along with Jacques Gauthier et al. here, been forging insights into systematic phylogenetics worthy of consideration of those who, bogged down in the frivolity of engendering self-induced migraines by striving to invent new names for every name appearing on the horizon, shoud take a deep breath.
An interesting document is Georg Fuellen's 2000 dissertation (140 pages), "Computing phylogenies by computing biosequences following principles of traditional systematics". This can be found at <http://archiv.ub.uni-bielefeld.de/disshabi/2000> follow the link to the dissertation 0026, which is accessible as a pdf, and read.
Georg's mentor is the systematicist J.-W. Wagele, who in 1994, presented a collaborative paper with Ronald Wetzel, in Jour. Natural History 28(4), "Nucleic acid sequence data are not per se reliable for inference of phylogenies". Coupled with several other papers, the reader (and List participant) will have further tools for sorting out some of semantic tap-dancing encountered in recent days in these postings re: Aves.
The Phylocode is evolving, and phylogenetic systematics just might (at least, I would hope so) forever end the nonsensical harping on every indeterminate scrap of dinosaur bone given a new name. I remember vividly the media hoopla over the Egyptian sauropod based upon fragments, which is Sauropoda indet., should not have been given a name, etc. etc. A similar example is, to be sure, the sorry nomenclatural history of fossil avialian theropods described on the basis of fragmentary metatarsals (all irrelevant without skeletons/skulls for detailed analyses), for which a paleoastrology volume is surely overdue.
The John Ostrom tribute volume is a magnificent reflection of what can be done when ideas are allowed to transcend petty bickering, and Jacques Gauthier deserves high honours.
A final note. Stephan Jay Gould is about to become present of the AAAS, an achievement for paleontology as a discipline.