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Re: Hanson 2006, Mortimer, Baeker response
Quoting Tim Williams <email@example.com>:
For example, we cannot have one -idae inside another -idae (like
Agustiniidae inside Titanosauridae), or have -inae above -idae (such
as Dromaeosauridae inside Microraptorinae). Other clades can change
in content relative to each other, but these family-level coordinated
clades ("family", "subfamily", "tribe" - idae, -inae, -ini) have to
stay in a hierarchial sequence. This is the "baggage" you are
There are those who would consider encoding relative rank in the ending
on the name a good and useful thing.
The reason I don't feel the mandatory surge of outrage whenever I
hear the word "family" is that I want a way to say the following
kind of thing, which is actually pretty common:
Other sauropod remains from the Hastings Beds Group
represent basal Titanosauriformes, Titanosauria and
Diplodocidae; the new taxon brings to four the number
of sauropod 'families' represented in this unit.
I'm totally fine with this. However, while "family" is useful for
categorizing diversity, it does not quantify diversity in any
meaningful way. In the above sentence you could replace 'families'
with 'taxa'; this would convey the same meaning, given that the first
clause already clues us in about the level of phylogenetic diversity.
Why not just say "morphological type", since that's what we seem to mean?
Nicholas J. Pharris, Ph.D.
Department of Linguistics
University of Michigan
"Creativity is the sudden cessation of stupidity."
--Edwin H. Land