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Re: Monotypic genera and the PhyloCode



--- Michael de Sosa <stygimoloch81@hotmail.com> wrote:

> Jonathan Wagner wrote:
> >I think many people would agree with the idea that a name that 
> >traditionally refers to a species should be used for a species, and a name 
> >that has traditionally NOT been used for a species should NOT be used for a 
> >species. Regardless of how much easier it is to remember one or the other, 
> >swapping names between two different categories of taxa (clades and 
> >populations) is a pretty bad idea.
> 
> But for many fossil genera with only one known species, the generic name HAS 
> traditionally been used for the species. A name like Minmi paravertebra is 
> redundant, as it only refers to one population (actually only one 
> *individual*). So assuming we do need to reduce the name of the population 
> to a single term, a brief perusal of the literature will quickly demonstrate 
> which name has traditionally been used, over and over again, to describe the 
> population, both in the text of papers and in phylogenetic diagrams. The 
> name *paravertebra* is used maybe once, just for appearances, if at all. 
> After that it's all *Minmi* this and *Minmi* that.

Actually, there is a specimen (from Marathon Station, Queensland) referred to
_Minmi sp._ -- thus it's not clear that this genus is monotypic.
 
> I guess I don't see the point of making a name *less* precise and then 
> attaching a citation or a marker to make it *more* precise again, or of 
> putting the generic name in quotes in front of the species name to "confer 
> access to the literature" when you can just use the generic name which is 
> actually *used* in the literature and save yourself some time in 
> cross-referencing. But I see you have different priorities and your 
> reasoning makes sense in that context. *shrug*

_Minmi_ and _M. paravertebra_ refer to different taxonomic entities. References
to _Minmi_ in the literature do not necessarily refer just to _M.
paravertebra_, even if it is the only named species. _Minmi_ is understood to
encompass a larger group. (The Marathon Station specimen, for example, may or
may not be from a different species -- momentarily ignoring the separate
question of what exactly a species is.....)

Furthermore, as pointed out above, there are hardly any cases where a genus is
unequivocally monotypic. And even where it may seem to be, there may be
literature that is being overlooked. And even if that is not the case, there
may be a desire to place future discoveries in a new species of that genus.

Of course, if _Minmi_ were converted to a clade or used as a species address,
it could still be used; it's not as though there is a proposal to convert only
non-monotypic genera.


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