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Re: Greg Paul's new (or newly named) iguanodonts

On Dec 6, 2007 3:33 PM, Tim Williams <twilliams_alpha@hotmail.com> wrote:
> On thing that I noticed about Paul's paper is his attitude to phylogenetic 
> taxonomy.  For example...
> "The only cladistic designation for iguanodonts below the 
> Ouranosaurus-hadrosaur clade is the unwieldy 'non-hadrosauroid 
> iguanodontoids',
> in which the members are described by what they do not belong to as much as 
> what they do belong to.

Yes, that's what a paraphyletic group is. The terminology may be
unwieldy, but it accurately reflects that fact. Calling the group
Iguanodontidae, OTOH, would make it seem the same type of taxon as

> "This sort of taxonomic arrangement is technically
> inconsistent, as well as discriminatory, towards taxa that do not happen to 
> belong to
> modest sized, terminal monophyletic groups.

This argument is bizarre to me. First of, what is a terminal
monophyletic group? What would a non-terminal monophyletic group be?

Second of all, the only discrimination here is in the actual
evolutionary history of the group. Iguanodontids (sensu Sereno) were
not as successful as hadrosaurids -- period. Are we to blame that on
nomenclature? Should monotremes blame systematists for the fact that
they are languishing while therians prosper? Life isn't fair -- why
should our nomenclature pretend that it is?

Anyway, all that aside, I'm glad the wastebasket of _Iguanodon_ is
finally being cleaned out and the relationships of its former members
clarified. Looking forward to reading the full paper.
T. Michael Keesey
Director of Technology
Exopolis, Inc.
2894 Rowena Avenue Ste. B
Los Angeles, California 90039