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Re: AFROTHERIA, CROWS & SPECIES CONCEPTS



Sorry for the cross-posting (I got this 3 times): 
 
> > <Great. Let's take this to the PhyloCode mailing list (which hasn't 
> > had any traffic for months) and argue against any ruling about species 
> > in at least the first version of the PhyloCode, which is after all 
> > about clades. :-) 
 
The PhyloCode, I mean, not necessarily the 1st version. :-) 
 
>   Well, not definitions of a species, per se, but in defining hominid 
> genera, Camilo Cela-Conde and Frasisco Ayala (2003) suggest a four genus 
> rule in Hominidae, dumping a lot of new genera, on the basis of 
> so-called "adaptative criteria"; these were defined by Mayr (a stauch 
> opponent to cladist theory and phylogenetic taxonomy); quoting 
> Cela-Conde and Ayala (pg. 7686): "This evolutionary and ecological 
> concept of the genus leads to identification of three hominid genera, 
> corresponding to three distinctive adaptative zones: 
 
Distinctive adaptive zones. Ouch. When is it distinctive? I know it when I 
see it, sometimes. 
 
> (i) Australopithecus, encompassing the first 
> hominids that gradually developed bipedalism; 
 
This _presupposes_ that bipedalism was "gradually developed" so late. But 
watch a walking gibbon: they never use their arms to walk. They are 
bipedal. No wonder, considering their long arms, and the fact that they 
spend most of their lives hanging vertically. In short, maybe 
knuckle-walking is the derived state, not bipedalism. 
 
> (ii) Paranthropus, 
 
Not mentioned in the scheme below. 
 
> (iii) Homo, the branch that evolved large brains 
 
Rather late. 
 
>   Hominidae 
 
Others consider this, in the extreme case, _a part of the subtribe 
Hominina_. (Want to end that debate? Implement the PhyloCode. :-) ) 
 
>    Praeanthropinae 
>      Praeanthropus (including Orrorin, and Australopithecus species 
>        afarensis and portions of africanus, bahrelghazali, anamensis and 
>        garhi) 
 
I assume they discuss why which portions of *A. africanus*? 
 
>    Australopithecinae 
>      Australopithecus (including boisei, robustus, africanus, and 
>        aethiopicus) 
 
When *Paranthropus* (see above) is recognized, then it contains all these 
except *A. africanus* (which has been suspected to be their sistergroup or 
something). 
 
>    Homininae 
>      Homo (including Pithecantrhopus, Kenyanthropus, Protanthropus, 
>        Sinanthropus, Cyphanthropus, Africanthropus, Telanthropus, 
>        Atlanthropus, Tchadanthropus ... 
> I'm-gonna-hurt-my-fingers-anthropus 
>        ...) 
 
*Kenyanthropus* was new (2002), the rest (AFAIK) are old synonyms of *Homo 
erectus*. 
 
> While the authors rightfully 
> question the neccessary assignment of such ambiguous 
> taxa as *Orrorin* and *Sahelanthropus* to Hominidae 
 
Why "ambiguous"? Fragmentary, yes, but they have not been considered 
synonymous with anything. 
        In the extreme lumping proposal (see above), Hominidae includes 
"even" the gibbons (as Hylobatinae). 
 
> [...] including *Orrorin* as a 
> species of *Praeanthropus* along with rightfully upright, bipedal 
> "man-apes" such as *A. afarensis* ("Lucy"). 
 
Isn't *O.* rightfully upright and bipedal? AFAIK what little evidence 
there is suggests precisely that. 
 
>   The overcomplication and rather ... unique ... perspectives on all 
> parts of the field of hominid systematics may be a brush fire waiting to 
> happen and maybe that would be the best and most ideal candidate to test 
> PT on, given a specimen-based phylogenetic and cladistic treatment. 
 
Yes, yes, yes!!! -- because only one cladistic analysis has AFAIK ever 
been done to elucidate our relationships, and that was long before the 
discovery of *Orrorin*, *Kenyanthropus* and so on. Somehow nobody seems to 
care... 
        Therefore -- because everything is weird in human "phylogenetics" 
-- nobody would regard a cladogram and phylogenetically defined names as 
too weird to be taken serious. This looks like a great chance. Who'll try? 
:-) 

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