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Re: Monotypic genera and the PhyloCode



--- Nick Pharris <npharris@umich.edu> wrote:

> > The species name is unique, when you consider that "species name" means
> BOTH
> > parts of the binomial ("rex" is not a species; "Tyrannosaurus rex" and
> > "Aliwalia rex" and "Othnielia rex" are.)
> 
> Yes, but I thought you were advocating the use of the species epithet alone,
> or
> with some sort of author/date or something like that.  If you want to
> continue
> using genus-species combinations, then there is no problem.

It's also unique if you use a citation. (Although you may have to assign
letters as well, for example to distinguish between the two _mongoliensis_
Osborn 1924's.)

I don't prefer either method as of yet, but they both seem feasible to me. Your
method seems fixated on removing spaces from species names, which I don't see
as a huge problem.

> > This would create massive confusion with the preexisting literature -- can
> > you imagine _Homo_ pertaining only to our species, not even including
> > Neanderthals?
> 
> Uh, yes, I can.  In fact, that is exactly what the word referred to for
> thousands of years before it was co-opted as a generic epithet.

I seriously doubt that if the classical Romans had known about Neanderthals,
they would not have called them "homo" as well. But, in any event, this is
plainly not about classical Romans -- it's about anthropologists. The genus
_Homo_ has come to have a pretty stable meaning compared to a lot of other
taxa. _Homo sapiens_ is probably the most widely recognized species name ever
(even more than _Tyrannosaurus rex_). It makes little sense to change _Homo_ to
mean what _Homo sapiens_ has meant. _Homo_ already delineates a pretty nice
clade; there's no real reason to subvert that.

And this becomes much worse in really species-rich genera (e.g., certain
coleopterans), where you are proposing to take the name of a huge group and
reassign it to one of its members.

In other words, since you are appopriating the names of genera, which may refer
to valid clades, how do you propose to name the groups which used to bear those
names? If _Homo_ is to refer only to our species, then what clade includes,
err, "erectihomo", "neanderthalensisihomo", "habilisihomo", and "homo"?

> > > So, for what is now _Parasaurolophus_, we would have:
> > >
> > > _Parasaurolophus_ (=_P. walkeri_)
> > > _Tubiciniparasaurolophus_ (=_P. tubicen_)
> > > _Cyrtocristatiparasaurolophus_ (=_P. cyrtocristatus_)
> >
> > Shouldn't these be in lower case, being species names?
> 
> Every other rank is capitalized; why not species?

There are no ranks in Phylocode. There are different classes of taxa. The first
draft covers only clades, but mentions species as a different type of taxon. It
may be desirable for different types of taxa to be written differently.

[snipped -- other points were answered satisfactorily]


=====
=====> T. Michael Keesey <http://dino.lm.com/contact>
=====> The Dinosauricon <http://dinosauricon.com>
=====> Instant Messenger <Ric Blayze>
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