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Re: Suchosaurus, Baryonyx and Martinavis

T. Michael Keesey writes:
 > > Sometimes it seems as though people are deliberately looking for
 > > points of conflict between the codes.
 > I know I am! How else can we eliminate (or at least diminish) those
 > points of conflict before the PhyloCode is put into action?

Well, OK -- but that's completely different from what I meant.  The
kind of "looking for trouble" you're doing is like a scientist trying
to disprove an idea he holds dear, not because he wants it to be shown
false but to make sure it's really as robust as he thinks it is.
Which of course is healthy.  What I'm talking about is a much more
negative attitude, looking for disagreement in order to promote

 > > They work together, not against each other.
 > That is the idea.

Well, good.  :-)

 > > I still say that "converting" genera into clades is a category
 > > mistake.  They are much better left as they are.
 > Well, you may have a point insofar as Mesozoic vertebrate
 > paleontology is concerned (although I'm still not sure I
 > agree). But there are fields out there (botany, entomology, etc.)
 > where a genus might actually include more than one species --
 > sometimes even hundreds of species. Many of those genera are just
 > as good candidates for conversion as any familial (or even ordinal)
 > vertebrate taxon.

I don't think so, because of the complicating effect of the genus name
being part of the species name.  That is the key difference between
genera and the higher ranks.

Here's the thing: if you convert a traditionally paraphyletic family
into a clade, all that changes (from the perspective of the
traditional codes) is its content.  "Oh," they say, "Barapasaurus is
not a cetiosaurid after all".  I think most people can live with
that.  But when you convert a paraphyletic genus into a clade, you
change the names of the species that were included in it and are now
excluded (or vice versa).  You also make the names of species subject
to change under different phylogenetic hypotheses.  I think that this
is more than most Linnaeists will swallow.

 > PhyloCode's new Art. 21 at least has provisions for using
 > unconverted genera, which is a tacit way of saying, "Hey, you don't
 > have to convert them *all*."

Oh, I hadn't spotted that.  A step in the right direction, anyway.

 > > (Better still would
 > > be a world in which genera had never been any more important than
 > > families and other ranks, that is to say, a world without the
 > > binomial, which is what gives genera their undue influence.)
 > Agreed! But ... too late.



 _/|_    ___________________________________________________________________
/o ) \/  Mike Taylor    <mike@indexdata.com>    http://www.miketaylor.org.uk
)_v__/\  "For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple,
         neat, and wrong" -- H. L. Mencken.