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Re: The Papers That Ate Cincinnati

On 5/5/07, Anthony Docimo <keenir@hotmail.com> wrote:

okay, I'll try asking again, hoping I'm a little clearer this time.

in the past, the Hoatzin (again, as a real example) has been put into one
group after another...with chickens, ganules, even mockingbirds if I recall.

Not to mention musophagids, cuculiforms, tinamous, columbiforms, pteroclidids, seriemas, otidids, coliiforms....

so, if PhyloCode gives scientific names based on its evolutionary relations,
what happens when a critter needs to be reclassified?

It depends on the definition. (And it's not a matter of classification, but of changing phylogenetic hypotheses.) If a clade is defined with _Opisthocomus hoazin_ as a specifier, then that species shifting around in different cladograms may affect our understanding of the clade's content. But I don't think anyone's ever used _O. hoazin_ as a specifier for any clade, and, given its uncertain position, I'm not sure anyone would want to. (Except in case the genus _Opisthocomus_ or any eponymous taxon is converted as a clade name, of course.)

(for that matter, how many fossils were thought to be one thing (ie
dinosaur, mammal), and turned out to be something else?  (ie, vice versa))

The PhyloCode expressly states: "Recommendation 11B. If there is reason to question that a species is a member of a particular clade, that species should not be used as a specifier in the definition of the name of that clade."

As David has said, the code is not long (about the equivalent of 40
printed pages), and it covers a lot of the questions people bring up.
Have a look: http://www.ohiou.edu/phylocode
Mike Keesey