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Re: Hanson 2006, Mortimer, Baeker response

Andreas Johansson (andreasj@gmail.com) wrote:

<As far as I understand, Euarchonta was named precisely *because* Archonta was
found to be polyphyletic. It was conceived as the monophyletic core of what we
used to think of as Archonta.>

  The authors of Euarchonta were also adherents of a nomenclatural philosophy
that holds that a name like Archonta is defined by its contents, not as a
definition, but by tradition. Thus, they _couldn't_ keep Archonta around, in
their philosophy, because bats and some "insectivorans" were being moved _out_.
Thus, they needed to name a "new" group, the "true" archontans. There is an
idea in mammology, for some reason, that if a topology changes, that topology
gets a name. There is nothing cladistic or definitional about this.

<It would be utterly perverse if PhyloCode forbade use such nomenclatural
rescue operations.>

  It would be heroic, perhaps, rather than perverse. The PhyloCode would have
us redefine the clade rather than name endless new clades per every topology
change. It would ask us to be _certain_ of the topology through various
techniques to assert the integrity of the study and its resilience (including
checking the original material). In the end, they would have prefered the name
Archonta be kept, and people's minds shift to a definitional-based system of
nomenclature rather than a content- or topology-based one.


Jaime A. Headden

"Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969)

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