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*Rana (Pelophylax) (ridibunda) lessonae* was Re: Nano
While on Varanus, a well established genus containing dozens of species on
three continents (there are no indications it will be split up, if
super-sized Megalania may be sunk into the genus, Amer Natural 146:
shows far more variation in in detailed anatomy and gross form than the
entire Tyrannosauridae, which have long been known to be a conservative,
group. Check out a gorgosaur and a T rex skeleton in the same museum and
how little difference there really is. See how much more difference there
between the broad snouted ora and a slender nosed dwarf Varanus literally
hundreds of times smaller. Makes one think.
I guess *Varanus* is simply a 19th- or perhaps 18th-century genus. For
example, Linné recognized two genera of frogs: *Rana* and *Bufo*. (*Pipa
pipa* was *Rana pipa*.) Nowadays *Rana* (with tons of subgenera and
superspecies = "species groups") is apparently synonymous with Raninae, and
there is evidence that *Bufo* (with its exorbitant number of "species
groups") is paraphyletic with respect to some or all of the 30-odd other
bufonid genera. (In total there are some 350 species of Bufonidae, most of
them in *Bufo*.)
*Varanus* likewise has a couple of subgenera.
It is not surprising that the newest paper on *Rana* phylogeny(*) uses the
PhyloCode instead of inventing ranks between genus and subgenus and between
subgenus and superspecies.
(*) Only concerned with the New World species -- formerly *Rana (Amerana)*,
the useless *Rana (Aurorana)*, *Rana (Aquarana)*, *Rana (Pantherana)*, and a
IIRC few others -- as well as one species of Palaearctic brown frog, *Rana
(Rana) (temporaria) temporaria*. No indication about the position of any of
those relative to the Palaearctic green = water frogs, *Rana (Pelophylax)*,
as well as relative to an ?African? clade of more subgenera like *Rana
(Amnirana)*. Grumble, moan.