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Re: -idae, -oidea, etc.



Nick Pharris (NJPharris@aol.com) wrote:

<Anyhow, I was not saying that names ending in -idae should only be given
to clades of a particular size, time-depth, whatever.  Nor was I saying
that the sister group to an -idae clade would have to be another -idae
clade.>

  Ack ... nor was I. This is a purely neo-Linnaean viewpoint, not even
held by Linné himself.
 
<All I meant was, if there exists a clade X-idae, there should be no more
inclusive clade than X-idae whose name consists of a genus name plus
-idae, -inae, -ini, or -ina.  We've still got -ia, -iformes, -omorpha, -i,
-ae, -es, etc., to work with (though I think it would not be a terrible
idea eventually to rank some of these relative to one another as well).>

  It's the idea of "ranking" anything relative to one another in any way
that seems to detract from the idea that a name for a clade is a free
event, and not entitled to a form structure. I can side-step the whole
method, as can anyone (including Brochu, as I previously elucidated), by
naming a taxon to include *Archaeopteryx* and *Wellnhoferia* and
*Jurapteryx* Euaves, even if this would be an -idae to anyone else. All
I'd need to do was define a node, and the ranking system for -idae, -inae,
etc., would be completely ignored and irrelevant to the nomenclatural
discussion. This makes me think that there may be no real point or
neccessity for such a method, as it may, in some peoples' minds, be
relative to a Linnaean view that some taxa have rank, and that rank has
any sort of validity. This is also why "standardization" of name suffices
rubs me the wrong way.

  Okay, true, if I don't want to use it, I don't have to ... but I can
also appeal my reasoning and determine that the method is, in my view,
non-scientific, and shoehorns non-biased systematics into ranked boxes.
Thus, I question the methodology.

<Can't you see a benefit to being able to look at a clade whose name ends
in -idae and know instantly that it is less inclusive than one ending in
-oidea (if it exists) and more inclusive than one ending in -inae?>

  Yes. Beleive me, I do, and for a while I considered this as being a
plausible "middle-ground" between phylogenetic taxonomy and Linnaean
systematics. I'm sure I posted on it a few years ago. But the prevailing
argument as I saw it was that names are names and serve no other function
than to communicate reference to groups. The Linnaean illusion that nature
can be fitted into little nested boxes is what feeds the idea that ranking
names is a good idea ... because it fit that veiw of nature. This is now
seen to be not true, and retaining such a condition of that view in
ranking _names_ is perpetuating the illusion.

  A name serves in it's own stead, not relative to others. The definition
serves other definitions, not its own. I see this as an essential dichotomy.

=====
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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