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Re: Princeton Field Guide



On 1 October 2010 14:07, Anthony Docimo <keenir@hotmail.com> wrote:
>> >> I wouldn't want to name a new
>> >> Diplodocus species D. docimoi and then find that it seems to be more
>> >> closely related to Barosaurus, and have to rename it B. docimoi.
>> >> Better just call it Novodiplos docimoi, and its name can stay the same
>> >> wherever it falls out in the phylogeny.
>> >
>> > but if genera don't really exist, then wouldn't only the *docimoi* part 
>> > remain, when it falls out/into the phylogeny?
>>
>> With extinct animals known from partial remains, a genus "really
>> exists" about as much as a species does, i.e. not at all. It's just
>> about labelling in a useful way.
>>
>> The bottom line is that we need to do two separate things: attach
>> unambiguous names to taxa (i.e. nomenclature), and figure out how
>> they're related to each other (i.e. phylogenetic analysis of one kind
>> or another). Using a binomial conflates those two separate things.
>> It means that when we name a new animal, we are already committing to
>> a specific phylogenetic hypothesis. And that is just plain dumb when
>> we all know how labile the dinosaur tree is.
>
> Except you've named it *Novodiplos* because it has similarities to 
> *Diplodocus*(sp), right?   So if its later discovered that *Novodiplos* is as 
> far from *Diplodocus* as its possible for another sauropod to be (fooled by 
> convergent evolution), would that be another reason to rename it?

No, a genus name would certainly not be changed because of a change in
phylogenetic hypothesis.  I should have picked a different name to use
for my example -- Docimoa, for example.