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Re: Monotypic genera and the PhyloCode

Entire message forwarded for the PhyloCode list... my comment is at the

----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael de Sosa" <stygimoloch81@hotmail.com>
To: <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Sunday, September 26, 2004 2:48 PM
Subject: Re: Monotypic genera and the PhyloCode

> >From: "T. Michael Keesey" <mightyodinn@yahoo.com>
> >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
> >convert only non-monotypic genera.
> All right, good point. In reality there is probably a sp. out there
> somewhere for every supposedly monotypic genus, throwing a wrench
> in the works. So there goes that idea.
> Still, there ought to be a way to conserve the names of currently
> genera in a meaningful way. Like as a stem group based on a type specimen
> and excluding all other type specimens unless they are found to actually
> represent the same species. Or as a stem group based on the autapomorphies
> of that type specimen, in such a way that if a new specimen was found to
> have some, but not all, of those apomorphies then it could be assigned to
> new species within the same "genus"... but then the definition of the
> "genus" would have to change to only include those apomorphies shared by
> *both* species. Hmmm. I guess this is a discussion for that other list
> Even if it's just a clade address or a marker or something, I still think
> using an existing generic name is preferable to a number, both for
> historical and aesthetic reasons (what's the point of naming a species
> melanolimnetes if it can't have Eucritta in front of it? :)).

I think the answer is quite simple. Once there will be a code for species
names, let's make a Recommendation against converting the species of
monotypic genera. Means, *melanolimnetes* will not be converted, while
*Eucritta* will be a LITU, as long as no new discoveries will be made.
        There's currently no point in calling it a species _anyway_! By far
most species concepts are not applicable to this lone fossil. It makes some
sense to define a clade that has it as a specifier; it makes little to no
sense, at the moment at least, to use it as the type specimen of a species.