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Re: Taxa nomy?



> Contrary to popular misconception (by some), the Linnaean system is live
and doing well.

I've tried to use it for dinosaurs... it turned to dust and fell down
between my fingers :-)

> Advocates for the Phylo-Code have yet to have the terminology accepted by
the international zoological community.

Correct -- and the botanic, bacteriological etc. communities as well. Of
course, this can hardly happen before the PhyloCode will be implemented.

> The major problem is that the Code is primarily (not exclusively)
advocated by some vertebrate paleontologists because of the unusual nature
(bones, partial skeletons, etc.) of the specimens.

Untrue. Many vocal coauthors of the PhyloCode (Philip Cantino, David Hillis,
Gregory Rouse) are botanists (and neo-, not paleo-, ones) who have seemingly
run out of ranks and got tired of paraphyletic taxa. Fredrik Pleijel does
research on living polychaetes...

> This is NOT an issue with the majority of the zoological community which
deal with living organisms. There has been a trend in recent years towards a
more middle of the road approach whereby the strengths of the Linnaean
system and of the Phylo-Code are being used by vertebrate paleontologists.

Any such combination also combines the disadvantages of both, and the
ballast of the Linnaean system (haven't found any in PN yet =8-) ).

> >>> <zone65@bigpond.com> 09/Mar/04 >>>
> I'm still not quite clear on this - supposedly, the concept of Linnaean
> taxonomy is out and cladistics is in... but I keep seeing 'genus' and
> 'species' bandied about,

The first version of the PhyloCode will not contain any rules for species.
This means that people will have to continue to use the Linnaean system for
those -- and this means they'll have to keep genera, if only for that one
purpose.

Pleijel & Rouse argue for the abandonment of species in the first place. :-)
They have some good arguments... in any case species will not be mandatory
under the PhyloCode (means, you'll be able to describe a new organism as a
member of a new clade without having to postulate a species for it; quite
practical for fossils, where populations or anything similar tend to be
quite rare).

> as well as 'taxa'.

There are two sorts of taxa, says the PhyloCode: clades and species. :-)

> And nobody actually says 'class' anymore,

Yep (in many, but not all, areas...)

> but the distinctions 'mammal', 'reptile' 'amphibian'
> and 'bird' are used with gay abandon

Because they designate clades. Well, Amphibia has needed a redefinition to
designate a clade, and Reptilia has needed a (too) big redefinition to
correspond to a clade, but still. :-)

> (only now, 'bird' is a sub... thingy of 'reptile').

If the term "Reptilia" won't get abandoned like "Thecodontia", yes.