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Re: New Dinosauricon Taxon Pages: _Therizinosauria_



On Sat, 1 Feb 2003 16:34:56   
 David Marjanovic wrote, replying to me:
>> Additionally, although much will be straightened out in the companion
>volume published when PhyloCode goes into effect (whenever 200n is!), it
>might be somewhat dangerous to put many important taxonomic decisions into
>the hands of a select few.
>
>These select few will, however, only deal with important, frequently used
>names of big clades (or work forever), and won't be concerned with alpha
>taxonomy.

Yes, my point exactly.  The frequently used, big clades are obviously the most 
important in taxonomy.  Putting the decisions into the hands of a small group 
may pose some problems, despite the good intentions of their attempts.  I would 
much rather have a larger assemblage of workers decide on the names and 
definitions of larger, more important clades, especially considering that de 
Quieroz, Gauthier, Cantino and crew are not experts on the entire claogram of 
life.

And, of course, the smaller, "less important" clades can then be worked out by 
other researchers after the framework of the larger clades are laid down.  
Sure, some scientists might rush into print a slew of new definitions to get 
their names on a bunch of clades (as Benton worried about in his critique), but 
this likely consequence will be less dangerous when applied to smaller groups.  
I just fear that a select few deciding the major new tenants of the system 
might make some ill decisions, especially regarding clades that are outside 
their area of expertise.  That is why the companion volume should include the 
advice of as many researchers as possible, even though I know that in practice 
consensus can be difficult.  But, when dealing with something as important as 
an upheval and nearly complete change in our taxonomic system, the utmost care 
should be taken.

Steve

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******************************************************
Stephen Brusatte
Geophysical Sciences
University of Chicago
Dino Land Paleontology-http://www.geocities.com/stegob
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