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RE: New Dinosauricon Taxon Pages: _Therizinosauria_



On Fri, 31 Jan 2003 17:12:37  
 Daniel Bensen wrote:
>I already told HP Keesey my thoughts on his new format (they were nice),
>but I do want to go on record as saying that I support his species-based
>pages.  Species (well, extant species, anyway) are the only
>non-arbitrary (well, semi-non-arbitrary) divisions in taxonomy.
>Everything else, including genera, are human-made designations of a
>fractally branching bush of relationships.  With dinosaurs, I suppose
>the _real_ base for classification should be individual specimens, since
>we have no idea whether that Iguanodon could mate with that other
>Iguanodon, but species are a still a useful tool, and HP Keesey does
>make an effort to list all of the cataloged specimens.

Certainly species are the least arbitrary taxonomic divisions (but they still 
can be arbitrary to some degree).  However, I do have concerns about doing away 
with the binomial, even though I have often in the past (including here on the 
list) ranted about how much I hate genera.  I still have to mull over the 
PhyloCode proposals a little more before I offer any firm statement, but I see 
some problems with doing away with the binomial.  First, even though historical 
usefulness and public opinion shouldn't really have much to do with 
_scientific_ taxonomy, the binomial has been the functional unit for basic 
taxonomy for hundreds of years, and as such, doing away with it will cause much 
confusion.  We must develop a system of stable names, though, so this is 
tricky.  And, of course, as others have mentioned before, how will genderized 
endings of species names be amended?  Additionally, although much will be 
straightened out in the companion volume published when PhyloCode goes !
in!
t
o effect (whenever 200n is!), it might be somewhat dangerous to put many 
important taxonomic decisions into the hands of a select few.  

Steve

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