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Re: Yay! Cladobabble! :-)

Quoting "Jaime A. Headden" <qilongia@yahoo.com>:

> Nick Pharris (npharris@umich.edu) wrote:
> <Sure you can tell what a genus is.  It's the named clade immediately 
> dominating one or more species.>
>   Not exacrtly, that can also be superspecies and subgenus.

OK, so I was playing a little fast and loose.  Actually, I was suggesting that 
we could just scrap superspecies and subgenera and just define "genus" as the 
clade immediately dominating the species (with the proviso that every species 
has to have one).  That way, we get to keep our naming system intact and still 
be intellectually honest.  If we find there are robust clades within a "genus" 
(what might today be called subgenera), we can always just split them off into 
several genera.  No big whoop.

Look, we all know that the basic unit in the tree of life is the individual 
(or maybe if you really stretch it, the population or the species).  But for 
better or worse, the basic unit of taxonomic nomenclature is the genus.  All 
those -idaes, -omorphas, -iformeses, and -inis are based on genus names, not 
species, and not specimen numbers.

Nick Pharris
Department of Linguistics
University of Michigan