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Defining clades like a REAL man (Was: New PaleoBios paper - diplodocoid phylogenetic taxonomy)



> Date: Tue, 04 Oct 2005 09:26:13 -0400
> From: Nick Pharris <npharris@umich.edu>
> 
>>> This way, if _Mamenchisaurus_ and _Omeisaurus_ are found to be
>>> paraphyletic relative to 'higher' sauropods, the clade
>>> self-nullifies.
>>
>> Ye-es.  I think it's a matter of philosophy whether you like such
>> magic disappearing clades or not.  I am not personally wild about
>> them.
> 
> Why on earth not?

Warning: high subjective opinions follow.  To me, such a
self-destructing clade definition seems like a coward's way out.  It
encourages people to go ahead and name the clade irrespective of the
support for the topology in which is was conceived, because the magic
will make it vanish if it goes wrong.  But I think it's better to wait
until all the phylogenetic ducks are in a row before naming the clade
in the first place.  This will become even more true once the
PhyloCode is implemented, and it becomes impossible to change the
definition associated with a clade once it's been published.

 _/|_    ___________________________________________________________________
/o ) \/  Mike Taylor  <mike@miketaylor.org.uk>  http://www.miketaylor.org.uk
)_v__/\  "Those who do not understand UNIX are condemned to re-invent it,
         poorly" -- Henry Spencer.