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Re: Platecarpus tympaniticus - how to analyze a nomen dubium



On Tue, Sep 21, 2010 at 8:58 PM, Anthony Docimo <keenir@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
>
>> SYSTEMATIC PALEONTOLOGY
>>
>> SAURISCHIA Seeley, 1887
>> THEROPODA Marsh, 1881
>> TYRANNOSAUROIDEAWalker, 1964
>> _BISTAHIEVERSOR SEALEYI_ gen. et sp. nov.
>>
>>
>> Not a Linnaean rank in sight.
>
> ÂI thought ol' Carolus was the one who created the whole kingdom-to-species 
> ranking?

He did (although phyla and families were added later), but you're
missing the point. The point is that the authors just listed the names
of the taxa without any absolute rank (apart from genus and species,
on the last line).

Although those names are traditionally associated with certain ranks,
there is no rule that they have to be. Consider Dinosauria. When Owen
named it, he called it "a distinct tribe or sub-order" (presumably not
with the meaning "tribe" has now, of a rank below family). But many
others have ranked Archosauria as a superorder and Saurischia as an
order, leaving no rank for Dinosauria. Still others (e.g., Bakker)
have proposed making Dinosauria a class, which would presumably make
Saurischia a subclass.

Such arguments over absolute ranks are pointless. We all know
Archosauria includes Dinosauria, which includes Saurischia. All three
of these taxa are the same however we rank them. So why bother ranking
them?

-- 
T. Michael Keesey
Technical Consultant and Developer, Internet Technologies
Glendale, California
http://tmkeesey.net/