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Fw: Monotremes



Here is it again in Really Plain Text (that is, with line breaks), with one comment by me:

----- Original Message -----
From: "Scott Elyard" <scott.elyard@gmail.com>
To: <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, May 09, 2007 7:58 PM
Subject: Re: Monotremes

On 5/9/07, Anthony Docimo <keenir@hotmail.com> wrote:

[...]
>  > I've no problem with that....my concern is that people interested
>  > in paleontology *might be frightened away* by the idea of having to
>  > phrase everything in cladograms.

Why would they be frightened away? (And if they found that frightening, what are they going to feel like when confronted with the raft of morphological terminology in palaeontology?)

>I really don't know what you mean by "phrase everything in
>cladograms".

what I mean, basically, is to write a cladogram, then say it in sentance
form.  repeat, only with another group of animals, and without writing it
down.

Nomenclature is not abolished... only ranks stop being necessary. That's all.


>All we're saying is that the nice, clear division of life into widely
>separated groups that we see now is caused by ignoring the previous
>half-billion years.  Is that "phrasing everything in cladograms"?

no.

so they're not widely-separated after all...does that make rubbish of the
classification scheme?  imho, no it doesn't.  its part of the
commonly-accepted system of names, and can be worked with, rather than
simply abandoning it.

I disagree. My experience with the "commonly-accepted system of names" has
been that irritating nomenclature really should have been abandoned long
ago. I think the system has been worked with. And worked with. And worked
with. And... it's up on cinder-blocks, man. Time to give up on it and buy
a new car. One that actually works.


I also think you have an interesting view of what is and what is not opaque
to outsiders to paleontology. Speaking as someone who _is_ an outsider, I
can honestly say that the old system you appear to be champion is thoroughly
broken.


It is already opaque.  It is already confusing.  It is also frustrating,
trying to suss out what anything means under Linnean taxonomy's bizarre
ranks, or even if there is any meaning to it.  And as others have pointed
out, I can vouch for the fact that it is definitely a distraction, one I
found unrewarding and not very worth my time trying to unentangle.  Those
reasons alone should make the old system worth jettisoning.

The PhyloCode certainly appears to fix that.

--
Scott Elyard
Animation and Art
http://www.coherentlighthouse.com/