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Re: Enigmosauria

Mickey Mortimer (Mickey_Mortimer111@msn.com) wrote:

<It's okay for them to name a clade they find useful, but not for others
to do such?>

  As I don't use those names, I find no hypocrisy in myself for ignoring
them. Padian et al. recommended a moratorium, but this has not been
followed by a good number of people. By problem with the name in question
goes a little further....

<And Enigmosauria cannot be a nomen nudum, since it's not governed by the
ICZN.  Nor does it have any less status than, say, Maniraptora, since the
latter is also not governed by the ICZN or any other accepted body of

  First off, the ICZN does not regulate nomina nuda, and never has. It
only provides a definition for them, and the qualifications for taxa to be
established under its provenance and to be recognized otherwise. Secondly,
as noted before, a name without definition or application or even a
diagnosis or useage, has little, if any, meaning. The applied meaning of
the name in question has been, as stated many times before, been by word
of mouth. This argument was going on before Naish, Martill, and Hutt
published their figure accidentally, and for the same effective reasons,
which is why using Naish et al. to support it has not been very effective;
note that aside from Mickey Mortimer and a few web-based phylogeny sites,
no one uses it. It has NOT been published since Naish et al., and I don't
think anyone WILL be without substantiating it. Thus, Mickey's arguments
for allowing him to use the name, will he, nil he, have no realistic basis
other than "it's a name, why can't I use it?"

  And funny anyone should say "accepted body of work," since the only body
of work that WOULD potentially recognize the name in question would be the
PhyloCode, and THAT particular body has not received much of a warm
welcome, indeed.

<You people have to stop being so anal about names that aren't governed by
any code.>

  "You people"? Are you assaulting my Danish ancestry, Mickey? ;)

  On the other hand, names that aren't governed by any code shouldn't be
used anyway, given that they have no regulation, and therefore their
application is less than concrete, or even less than quicksand -- there's
no firm place to stand when it comes to them, because no one set the
rules. So I guess there is no reason to continue using Maniraptora,
instead I will use "Manuraptora," or even better, "Maniraptores," simply
because those two are better formed ... and one at least has been
published. Since there is no regulation, I don't even need to use a
published name, just make my own up as I go. No? That way lies chaos,
Mickey, and this is why I treat the given name for the thread as though it
were a nomen nudum, and by rules that affect other suprageneric names. If
names lack regulation, why use them?

  Until I saw some formulative change in the PhyloCode, especially for
treating species, I have been using the ICZN as the basis for
"supra-familial" nomenclature, in regards to rules on priority, citation,
etc. Otherwise, I can use any name in the literature and mess over a good
deal of work, and use that very excuse to do so. I do not for the sake of
the ethical considerations that I have stated -- excessively -- in the

<If you want to pretend Phylocode is in effect now, and judge taxa based
on it, you better reject Maniraptora too.  Because the Phylocode states
definitions need species or specimens (or apomorphies) as the specifiers
(Article 11.1), and so far Maniraptora has only been defined with genera
(e.g. Passer <- Ornithomimus).  Same thing for nearly every other clade
name we all use so constantly.  Exceptions would be in the works of
Gauthier and de Queiroz (2001) and Clarke (2004).>

  The reason I bring up definitions in defense of my attempts to squash
use of this word until effective publication occurs is because of the
non-ICZN treatment of names, especially those above the rank of Family,
are useless without a definition. What is the use of such a name, if you
don't know where it goes? Does someone's putting a name at a point on a
tree mean you can put it anywhere else you see fit? Usually it's placement
corresponds to a reason, but without one given, how do you use the name?
What does one use to anchor one's names to their trees? Prior to
PhyloCode, EVERYHING in this flavor is up in the air. I know there is some
issue over whether the figure corresponds to such a definition, but this
is subjective, and no actual definition has been offered. Any one of
several likely definitions will correspond to the same point on the tree,
and its use, internal specifiers, and any external specifiers (none of
which were given in the figure), are up in the air. At this point, it's a
name with an historical artifact of being in an accidental figure.

<So if you don't like to use names published accidentally, or those only
published in figures, or those without explicit definitions, don't use
Enigmosauria.  It's your choice.  But stop claiming it's "unofficial",
"invalid", "unuseable", "a nomen nudum" or any other such classification
(unless you only recognize 10 or so theropod clades as being official,
valid, etc., in which case I have no qualms).> 

  Under the issues explained by Mickey, about PhyloCode not being
"official" and the ICZN being "inapplicable," ALL supra-familial names are
so unregulated, and ANY of their uses are questionable. Using that as an
excuse to get away with playing around with the given name has little, if
any, ethical validity to it. At which point can we get away with these
issues? I don't know. This is why I treat uncovered names as closely to
the existing Codes and rules as possible, and urge others to do so,
otherwise close to 5-8% of all given taxonomy is apparently useless.



Jaime A. Headden

  Little steps are often the hardest to take.  We are too used to making leaps 
in the face of adversity, that a simple skip is so hard to do.  We should all 
learn to walk soft, walk small, see the world around us rather than zoom by it.

"Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969)

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