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RE: Platecarpus tympaniticus - how to analyze a nomen dubium

> Date: Tue, 21 Sep 2010 22:25:30 -0700
> From: keesey@gmail.com
> To: dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject: Re: Platecarpus tympaniticus - how to analyze a nomen dubium
> On Tue, Sep 21, 2010 at 8:58 PM, Anthony Docimo wrote:
> >
> >
> >>
> >> SAURISCHIA Seeley, 1887
> >> THEROPODA Marsh, 1881
> >> _BISTAHIEVERSOR SEALEYI_ gen. et sp. nov.
> >>
> >>
> >> Not a Linnaean rank in sight.
> >
> > I 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.
I think this is what confuses me the most:
> 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?
 but by maintaining the sequence   (Archosauria - Dinosauria - Saurischia, in 
that order), doesn't that continue to (legitimize?)(justify?) the ranks?  We're 
still using the framework for everything.
its like if I decide to grow grapes, and the vines completely blanket the 
trellis so I can't see what metal or wood is holding it in place and in that 
shape...but even if I never say "trellis" again in all my life, it's still 
there, holding the grapes.

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