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In a message dated 10/31/02 11:16:31 AM Pacific Standard Time, 
qilongia@yahoo.com writes:

<< George Olshevsky (Dinogeorge@aol.com) wrote:
 <The genus >is< the basic >taxonomic< unit, at least as far as the ICZN is
  concerned. The name of a genus is a singular noun; to name a species in
 the  genus, you modify the noun with a species epithet. To name a family 
 containing the genus, you derive the family name from the generic name.>
   I think you are confusing the ICZN's recommended taxonomic construction
 with Linnaean taxonomy itself, in which the latter the species is the true
 and basic unit, whereas the genus is named as a noun, a particular of
 language and having nothing to do with biological evolution.
 <The basic >phyletic< unit is, I think, a population.>
   Concerning fossils, this is not true. We do not have the population to
 draw on. >>

If you consider >taxonomy< as the recognition and >naming< of groups, then 
the genus is the basic unit, and recognizing genera is fundamental to this 
process. In phylogenetics, however, populations are of paramount importance, 
with species being recognized as groups of populations capable of 
interbreeding. This, of course, cannot be done with fossil species, and all 
we have to distinguish species in vert paleo is skeletal anatomy.

Not only are genera entirely subjective, they're paraphyletic. Otherwise all 
living things would belong to the same genus. Consider the genus Homo. Where 
does it begin, and where does Australopithecus end? Why shouldn't all those 
species in Australopithecus each be called Homo something-or-other?