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TaxonSearch online

Posted for Paul  Sereno.

TaxonSearch online

TaxonSearch  (www.taxonsearch.org) was recently launched and an inaugural 
file (Stem  Archosauria 1.0) posted to harness the greater precision that 
phylogenetic  taxonomy offers--without recourse to the straightjacket of 
authority or 
a  unitary taxonomy and as an alternative (or enhancement to) the slow and  
distributed nature of printed publications.  It is an attempt, in other  words, 
to create a research tool that (1) enhances access to a wide range of  
information on suprageneric taxa and (2) hopefully encourages exchange and  

The details behind the logic and terminology of phylogenetic  systematics are 
available in a recent publication (Sereno (2005) and an  explanation of 
TaxonSearch in another (Sereno et al., 2005).  The  compilation covers all 
suprageneric taxa within Archosauria outside the crown  taxa Crocodylia and 
and excluding taxa within  Pterosauromorpha.

I look forward to your responses to this interactive  tool in general, as 
well as any specific comments about any taxon record.   Posting of such 
commentary will begin early in 2006; posting new files will be  possible later 
in 2006 
after feedback/testing of the site and its current  compilation.

Best regards,

Paul  Sereno

PhyloInformatics  8: 1-21 - 2005
TaxonSearch: a relational database for suprageneric taxa  and phylogenetic 
Paul C. Sereno, Steve McAllister, Stephen L.  Brusatte
Over the last 25 years, phylogenetic analysis and  phylogenetic taxonomy have 
narrowed the meaning of suprageneric taxa. In  phylogenetic analysis, 
suprageneric taxa identify clades rather than an  unspecified mixture of 
groups (clades), paraphyletic or  polyphyletic grades, and redundant taxa 
erected solely to occupy rank. In  phylogenetic taxonomy, clades are 
circumscribed by definition rather than a  variable assortment of diagnostic 
This phylogenetic approach has  reinvigorated taxonomy and substantially 
increased the number of suprageneric  taxa in current use. Basic information 
suprageneric taxa, nevertheless,  remains scattered across a vast taxonomic 
literature. We introduce a web-based  application called TaxonSearch, which 
to provide practicing taxonomists  with an efficient tool for logging, 
locating, and sharing information regarding  suprageneric taxa (author, 
definition, composition, history, temporal  duration). An example compilation, 
"Stem Archosauria," is composed of 789  taxonomic records that include all 
suprageneric taxa ever applied to these  animals. These records may be 
sorted or summarized in many ways. Given  the pace of phylogenetic work and the 
increasing number of phylogenetic  definitions, efficiently locating 
information about suprageneric taxa is a  growing and critical need.

Syst. Biol. 54(4):595-619, 2005
Copyright  Society of Systematic Biologists
ISSN: 1063-5157 print / 1076-836X  online
DOI: 10.1080/106351591007453
The Logical Basis of Phylogenetic  Taxonomy
Abstract. Phylogenetic taxonomy, like modern  Linnean taxonomy, was modeled 
on a phylogenetic tree rather than a cladogram  and, like its predecessor, 
perpetuates the use of morphology as a means of  recognizing clades. Both 
practices have generated confusion in graphical  representation, operational 
terminology, and definitional rationale in  phylogenetic
taxonomy, the history of which is traced. The following points  are made: (1) 
cladograms, rather than trees or hybrid cladogram-trees, provide  the 
framework for the simplest graphical depiction of phylogenetic definitions;  
(2) a 
complete notational scheme for phylogenetic definitions is presented that  
distinguishes symbolic notation from shorthand and longhand versions; (3)  
phylogenetic definitions are composed of three components (paradigm, specifier, 
qualifier) arranged in two fundamental patterns--node and stem; (4) apomorphies 
not constitute a fundamental definitional pattern but rather serve to qualify 
 a stem-based definition (as do time and geographic range); (5) formulation 
of  phylogenetic definitions involves three heuristic criteria (stability,  
simplicity, prior use); (6) reasoned definitional revision is encouraged and  
better defined (textual substitution, first- and second-order revision); and 
a database, TaxonSearch, allows rapid recall of taxonomic and definitional