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Re: The PhyloCode will not address the naming of species (Was The Papers That Ate Cincinnati)



--- "T. Michael Keesey" <keesey@gmail.com> schrieb:

> On 5/8/07, Anthony Docimo <keenir@hotmail.com>
> wrote:
> >
> > >Dinosauria has been everything from a suborder
> (original designation)
> > >to a class. But why would the mere fact that his
> sort of thing goes on
> > >a lot excuse it?
> >
> >   Why would the mere fact that it goes on, condemn
> it?
> 
> It doesn't. What condemns it is that it's
> meaningless.
> 
> > but when you're talking to somebody, and you know
> you don't share a common
> > language (ie,
> "tiger"="tiger"/"tiger"="jaguar")...don't you *want*
> to use
> > scientific terms you both know and understand?
> 
> Yes! That's the whole point. The traditional codes
> have failed to
> achieve this result because they do not provide any
> way to
> unambiguously link a name to a group. For example,
> Family Hominidae is
> only defined as "the family including _Homo
> sapiens_"--authors can and
> do include only _Homo_ and its close extinct
> relatives, or _Homo_ as
> well as the great apes, or all apes.
> 
> But under the PhyloCode, you could, for example,
> define _Hominidae_ as
> "the last common ancestor of _Pongo pygmaeus_ and
> _Homo sapiens_, and
> all descendants thereof". Two researchers following
> the PhyloCode,
> then, would be referring to the same entity when
> they talk about
> _Hominidae_. Now, they may have different
> understandings as to what
> belongs and what doesn't, but these would be actual
> disagreements
> about the phylogeny, not subjective opinions about
> how inclusive a
> "family" should be.

I am not certain that PhyloCode will be able to deal
with the issue of inference vs evidence and at the
same time uphold stability. Meaning that there will be
a considerable number of pseudo-clades... I have a
subspecies to my name (as coauthor, not honorific) and
everybody who does these things knows that it is COOL
to name something. I note, in ornithology, a tendency
to name "clades" with <50% consensus support, which is
disconcerting.

The problem is not the valid units. What makes or
breaks things is the invalid taxa, clades, whatever.
Their presumed content guides scientific thought, as
long as they are considered valid, their abolishment
will bring a paradigm shift, a novel way to look at
things. Will PhyloCode be an improvement? I honestly
cannot tell; I'll wait and see.

There is, after all, a reason why it is, strictly
speaking, Linnean-Stricklandian. Without Strickland's
sorting out the synonymy problem, the entire thing
would have gone belly-up a long time ago.


Regards,

Eike




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