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Re: Aeolosaurus colhuehuapensis n sp
T. Michael Keesey writes:
> > I don't think it's wise, even though it's allowed: it's a name
> > that commits the authors to a specific (and quite precise)
> > phylogenetic hypothesis. By naming the new taxon _Aeolosaurus
> > colhuehuapensis_, the authors are asserting that it is more
> > closely related to _rionegrinus_ than to any other named sauropod
> > genus: not something I'd be quick to do on the basis of (all
> > together now) a series of eroded caudals.
> Well, that's assuming _Aelosaurus_ is a clade--it's never been
> defined as such.
There are good reasons not to define genera as clades; but even in the
absence of such a definition, I think even the sternest traditional
Linnaean would agree that monophyly of genera is desirable when
> There's a big trend in systematics to make genera monophyletic.
> This is going to break down at some point--not every species can be
> placed in a monophyletic genus unless we allow genera to contain
> other genera. The final common ancestor of dinosaurs, for example,
> could not be placed into a monophyletic genus unless it included
> all dinosaurs.
But that would be no reason to go making paraphyletic genera down at
the level of Aeolosaurus. In fact, I find it impossible to think what
the authors possibly mean by referring the new species to that genus
_except that_ it is more closely related to the type genus than to any
other named genus or species. Really, what other conviction could
induce someone to raise a new species within an existing genus?
(My radical solution to the binomial problem: leave genera alone and
abolish species instead. Bam, done.)
/o ) \/ Mike Taylor <firstname.lastname@example.org> http://www.miketaylor.org.uk
)_v__/\ "That which gets lost in translation" -- Robert Frost's definition