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Re: Pronunciation Databases

Jerry D. Harris wrote:

Heaven forfend that anyone ever name anything after the town of Pueblo, Colorado, because the natives there pronounce the name of the city "pee-EH-bluh."

Or the state of Missouri, even. There are two acceptable ways of pronouncing the last syllable (long 'e' sound, or as a diphthong) by modern-day English-speakers. Yet, the name was coined by the French, based on a Native American word. How does one go about pronouncing _Hypsibema missouriensis_, the official state dinosaur of the Show-Me State? ;-)

But this is, after all, why pronunciation guides should be MANDATORY when publishing a new name!

This is a terrific idea. This rule already applies to new bacterial names: every description of a new genus or species comes complete with a guide to which syllable(s) should be accented. This is very helpful, especially as many bacterial monikers run into multiple syllables and/or incorporate local names.

While on the subject of names, Jaime Headden wrote:

Hence mammalian "Orders" and their lovely names.

Case in point: I like "Bibymalagasia" as a name (derived from "biby malagasy" - beast from Madagascar), but I dislike the fact that a new "order" was erected for a single genus (_Plesiorycteropus_).

I think I'd rather
rename everything from the get-go and abandon the last two decades of
gene-based names. Bye bye baggage-ridden Euarchonta (it's carrying Archonta's
baggage, a far superior name, and it's nothing of a "true Archonta" since it
REJECTS Archonta), we'll call it "Monkeybats." Afrotheria is
"Elephanthyraxshrewmanateeaardvarkia," and be done with it.

I agree with the first part. Molecular phylogeneticists have inflicted some truly horrible gene-based names on the Mammalia: Fereuungulata, Zooamata, Whippomorpha. I would also very much enjoy seeing all of these names abandoned. Microbiologists rely exclusively on gene-based analyses (16S rRNA) for higher-order taxonomy, but avoid erecting silly names for new clades.

Jaime's suggestion (Afrotheria --> "Elephanthyraxshrewmanateeaardvarkia") could be amended such that new gene-based clades could have acronyms based on constituent taxa. I've seen this done with other metazoan groups that come up in gene-based analyses, but which have minimal (if any) morphological support. The "AMOP" clade of sharks springs to mind; this contains 4 genera (_Alopias_, _Megachasma_, _Odontaspis_, _Pseudocarcharias_) that form a well-supported clade in gene-based analyses, but for which compelling morphological support remains elusive. This applies to most of the gene-based mammal clades.


<<Evidence of the Meckelian groove is lacking.>>

<Of course. It's a placental (...or perhaps a cimolestan...).>

Not what I meant. And I was referring to *Articanodon* here. There is NO
preserved portion of the jaw exhibiting the groove. Thus inferences about it's
presence or lack thereof cannot be made, including the phylogenetic utility of
xenarthan jaws or anteater-like mandibles, which lack Meckel's fossa and the
associated groove (more semantics in Meckelian terminology!).

<No wonder, because that is also the multituberculate jaw structure...>

Big wonder, if it looks nothing so much as an odd, if therian-like monotreme.

<While I am at it... all characters are unordered! That's not a good idea.>

Are we to make _a priori_ assumptions about order of character state changes
and how reversals are to be treated by the machine and thus influence
bootstraps and tree numbers? Perhaps. I like to run characters all ordered,
unordered, then variable ordering in my analyses; I will aslo run ACCTRAN and
DELTRAN in PAUP* to test their supporting points, bootstrap and jackknife,
Adams and strict concensuesesesesuses. I keep track of the data. It helps me
test for character change and "hard character states" without using MacClade.
Getting that program on a Windows shell may be harder than not....


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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