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Re: ptero and bat origins



Quoting David Marjanovic <david.marjanovic@gmx.at>:

> In molecular analyses, sometimes Eulipotyphla ("core insectivores") are in
> that place, but that's probably a slight case of long-branch attraction.
> Normal is:
> 
> Laurasiatheria (misnomer)
> |--Eulipotyphla
> `--Scrotifera
>      |--Chiroptera
>      `--Fereuungulata
>           |--Cetartiodactyla
>           |--Perissodactyla
>           `--Ferae
>                |--Carnivora
>                `--Pholidota
> 
> Unfortunately this sister taxon is a bit big, and gives just about 0
> revelations about the origin of bat flight. Yes, we can assume that the
> first scrotiferan looked like a shrew. :-)
> (Perissodactyla are either the sistergroup to Cetartiodactyla, forming
> Euungulata, or to Ferae, forming Zooamata. Mammal clade names are
> concept-based.)

Yuck.  For God's sake, let's get some clade names that make sense without 
requiring knowledge of the entire history of mammalian 
classification.  "Eulipotyphla"?  Is it some subclade of "Lipotyphla"?  Is 
there a "Pseudolipotyphla"?  No.  Just call them Lipotyphla, or even 
Insectivora.  It's just that we no longer consider golden moles and tenrecs to 
be lipotyphlans/insectivorans.  It's not that hard to figure out.  It's 
happened lots of times in the history of taxonomy, and the world did not come 
crashing down about our ears.

Fereuungulata and Euungulata?  Eww.  Again, no "eu-X" if there isn't an "X".  
Just say Ungulata (if the clade is real), with the proviso that afrotheres are 
excluded.  Cetartiodactyla?  Totally unnecessary.  Cetacea is a subclade of 
Artiodactyla (or Paraxonia)--it's not even clear that artiodactyls as 
traditionally conceived share a special relationship exclusive of whales.

Zooamata?  Well, OK.  This one's just ugly (in addition to being an ill-formed 
mishmash of Greek and Latin parts).  If you must give our "animal friends" 
such a name (animal friends?  You mean like bears and rhinos?), I 
suggest "Philotheria".


> That
> the name Scrotifera exists suggests that some synapomorphy exists that fits
> in the molecular tree, but I don't know it.

To the best of my knowledge, it refers to the scrotum (convergently acquired, 
obviously, in primates).

Nick Pharris
Department of Linguistics
University of Michigan