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RE: Padian et al. 1999 (Was: New PaleoBios paper - diplodocoid phylogenetic taxonomy)

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu]On Behalf Of
> Roberto Takata
> Sent: Tuesday, October 04, 2005 1:25 PM
> To: dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject: Re: Padian et al. 1999 (Was: New PaleoBios paper - diplodocoid
> phylogenetic taxonomy)
> 2005/10/4, Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. <tholtz@geol.umd.edu>:
> > If you go to the working documents (the papers in journals), taxonomy from 
> > the alpha
> > level on up was in state of flux throughout the 20th Century.
> But that was only because the taxonomists tried to not to push aside
> evolutionary issues - well actually it was in the order of the day
> since Darwin times.
Ummm... No.

There was still plenty of disagreement in the basic taxonomy of pretty much any 
group on any number of issues: how to best integrate
phylogenies and taxonomies; what features represented REAL signficant features 
(whip out the ol' "significant feature detector" for
that one); which best captured comparable levels of morphological disparity or 
taxonomic diversity; and so forth.

The main benefit from a phylogenetic system of taxonomy is at least the 
explicit agreement on what type of entities are to be named
(i.e., clades), and a set of agreed-upon criteria for recognizing said entities.

As you say, a total understanding is out of reach: indeed it will always be 
that way. But a phylogenetic system of taxonomy
(including, but not limited to, that in the PhyloCode) begins to give a smaller 
set of rationales than existed before.

                Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
        Senior Lecturer, Vertebrate Paleontology
Department of Geology           Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland          College Park Scholars
        Mailing Address:
                Building 237, Room 1117
                College Park, MD  20742

Phone:  301-405-4084    Email:  tholtz@geol.umd.edu
Fax (Geol):  301-314-9661       Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-405-0796