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Re: More on the genus problem
To me, genus and species in paleontology are just ranks which
represent the same: nested groups. Putting aside criticism to the
biological species concept, you have no way anytime soon to see who
has fertile descent with who among fossil specimens, so to group
individuals in species you have to rely uniquely on mophology, the
same as with all other larger, supraspecific groupings. No difference
All specimens differ, at least in proportions (skipping consideration
of ontogenetic differences), so what makes you think a given
difference is intraspecific and not interspecific? I cannot imagine
any reason, or any general foundation for a "difference-o-meter"
scale, so I think that the difference between intra and interspecific
differences is subjective. So, to me, paleontology would be better
stop talking about genera and species (the latter term may still be
useful regarding not-mixing of gene pools in our times), but about (as
ugly as it may sound) of specimens referred to by their catalogue
number (or perhaps given a more aesthetic name, such as "Sue" and
"Leonardo"). At least, it is not based on such a subjective separation
of differences in "intraspecific" and "interspecific".
There is no problem for phylogenetic analyses to be performed using
specimens as OTUs, as has been done (and so you may test the monophyly
of alpha-systematic gathering of individuals in a species). I think
diversity studies may be more difficult to be carried on if abandoning
usage of species as a special, and only one, accepted rank. However, I
see the same problems with their use as with the previous use of
genera and families.
My two cents.