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RE: Princeton Field Guide

Mike Taylor wrote:

<HOWEVER, this book ALSO include wholesale taxonomic reassignments.>


<it does not include specimen numbers, diagnoses or the like>

One would easily argue that, because it lacks any formal taxonomic practice (I 
am guessing, my copy is in the mail) the book does _not_ "include wholesale 
taxonomic assignments." For versions of that particular practice, _Predatory 
Dinosaurs of the World_ and, say, Greg's papers erecting "genera" and "species" 
counts far better on this.

What we have instead is NOT a work making ANY sort of taxonomic reassignments, 
merely confusing taxonomic terminology with reasoning behind them. Lumping, as 
I implied here 
(http://qilong.wordpress.com/2010/08/03/what-is-citipati-gracilis/), "is [...] 
a matter of changing labels around, and applying a Linnaean
 philosophy to the labels. And it is utterly meaningless."

Mike Taylor further wrote:

"A name is just a label.  And the one thing -- the only thing, really -- that 
you want from a name is that it doesn't change. The same name should always 
refer to the same thing, otherwise it's useless.  And guess what? Linnean 
binomials fail this basic test for the usefulness of names."

Which is why it makes me very curious why some researchers feel it is necessary 
to re-name taxa or establish meaningless labels on the basis of sometimes 
inconsistent criteria (too similar, not similar enough, it's bigger, etc.) and 
little, if any, phylogenetic analysis.


Jaime A. Headden
The Bite Stuff (site v2)

"Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969)

"Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a
different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race
has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or
his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion