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Re: marine reptile McMenu
- Changes in ecosystem level evolutionary process driven by keystone
species (eg. something like what we see in increasingly shorter genus
life spans among plants).
Do you have a ref for this? Because I'm writing a paper on phylogenetic
nomenclature right now*, and I'd like to include this as an example of how
ranks meddle with people's heads -- and picking on Benton** all the time
would be unfair.
You see, there is no way to tell if something is a genus. Anyone can all
anything they want a genus, and nobody has a quantifiable criterion for it,
so there's not even a way to tell if it's consistent within a single
author's single classification. It follows logically that it is completely
impossible to compare the lifespans of genera. If anything, decreasing genus
lifespans tell us something about the classificatory practices of
paleobotanists, but not about biology.
* Still not my long-promised definition of Aves, unfortunately.
** Has published lots of studies where he, sometimes with a coauthor or two,
tried to quantify changes in biodiversity through time by counting genera,
families and/or orders. He's also a famous vertebrate paleontologist, and
publishes a lot. So he's the first who came to mind.