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Re: The iguanodont paper

On 12/9/07, T. Michael Keesey <keesey@gmail.com> wrote:
> We already have pretty good systems for referring to the "interesting"
> types of paraphyletic groups. A group delimited by a symplesiomorphy
> can be referred to by that symplesiomorphy. Chronology-based
> paraphyletic groups can be referred to using names of geological
> units. And stem groups can be referred to with the "stem-" prefix.
> Examples:
> 1) spike-thumbed iguanodonts; gilled vertebrates; featherless
> amniotes; terrestrial mammals; limbed tetrapods; arboreal primates
> 2) Mesozoic archosaurs; Mesozoic dinosaurs; pre-Holocene homininans
> 3) stem-mammals; stem-avians; stem-crocodylians; stem-whales;
> stem-bats; stem-humans
> It does occur to me that you could make category #1 a bit more
> succinct in some cases. It might be useful to have an informal prefix
> for apomorphy-based clade names that specifies only the members of the
> clade which retain the apomorphy. "Plesio-" might work. Thus,
> "plesio-tetrapod" = "limbed tetrapod"*, "plesio-Ankylopollexia" =
> "spike-thumbed ankylopollexians"**, and "plesio-Avialae" = "flying
> avialans". Just a thought ... any takers? Haters?

Surely a plesio-avialan would be a _winged_ avialan? Having an
apomorphy based clade named for one character (wings) and defined by
another (flight) would get very confusing indeed.

In any case, in your examples the gain in succinctness is minimal to
negative: "limbed tetrapod" is four syllables against six in

Andreas Johansson

Why can't you be a non-conformist just like everybody else?