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Re: Classification: A Definition

On 5/22/07, Christopher Taylor <gerarus@westnet.com.au> wrote:

Not quite what I meant :-). I am fully sympathetic to the no-monotypic-higher-taxa drive - I agree that they generally serve little or no purpose, clutter up the literature and possibly even cause harm by adding to the impression that taxa at the same "rank" are somehow equivalent. However, if you had reasons to believe that your new taxon was probably related to some other neosauropod of equally uncertain position (for the sake of argument, let's say _Euhelopus_) but were unable to rigorously test this phylogenetically, it might still be useful to unite the two as "Euhelopodidae" as a means of highlighting the likely connection.
One final point that I should probably make before this discussion moves
in an unintended direction - the points I've been making are not
intended as attacks on phylogenetic nomenclature _per se_. They are
arguments about making phylogeny a _sine qua non_ of nomenclature.

But your nomenclature is still based on phylogeny. Euhelopodidae would be a recognized phylogenetic entity in your example, even if its exact relationships are uncertain. (Just as pterosaurs are pterosaurs regardless of whether they are pan-avians, non-archosaurian archosauromorphs, or whatever; and testudines are testudines regardless of whether they are diapsids or not.)

It doesn't seem like you have an actual argument with phylogenetic
nomenclature, unless you really think there should be some other
component to nomenclature, such as phenetic similarity, ecological
niche, etc. That doesn't seem to be the case, so....

Mike Keesey