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RE: Alamosaurus as biggest North American sauropod
- To: Anthony Docimo <email@example.com>, Dinosaur.Mailing.List@listproc.usc.edu
- Subject: RE: Alamosaurus as biggest North American sauropod
- From: Jaime Headden <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Fri, 9 Dec 2011 17:18:21 -0700
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Note that all I was discussing is the process or the method: the _why_ or
_when_, but not the _who_. I don't care who does as long as they put the work
into it that allows me to think the guys words have weight. Note that this
simply affirms that I will not name taxa (as I have stated before). I haven't
gone to school, so I lack the technical capability to perform many of the
analyses I would like to do on a large number of taxa just to lay the ground
work for _knowing_ the things I would (if I felt justified) to name. I would
_like_ to name the likely unique taxon that is GIN 100/42, but ... I won't.
As for "schools," I think that there are already generational chains of
teacher-student showing similar if not identical taxonomic philosophies. Some
are better known, some not so much. Previously on the Vert Paleo list, someone
requested information regarding being able to track the philosophies of various
colleges based on their paleontological teacher-student chains. This is most
evident, I think, when students/teachers tend to stay with the school/institute
in which they graduated, or publish consistently in its papers, etc., including
the _American Museum Novitates_ (many students who graduated from Stony Brook
and Columbia publish there) or _New Mexico Museum of Natural History Bulletin_,
and so forth. I do not mean this negatively [for ANYONE], but one does tend to
pass on one's methodology, and that does somewhat imply a lack of diversity
within the institution. I am sure outside the paleo fields, this happens in
other liberal arts colleges, philosophy departments in general, and "real" art
schools. Proof? I have none.
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
> From: email@example.com
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
> Subject: RE: Alamosaurus as biggest North American sauropod
> Date: Fri, 9 Dec 2011 23:51:18 +0000
> > Date: Fri, 9 Dec 2011 16:37:22 -0700
> > From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> > To: email@example.com; Dinosaur.Mailing.List@listproc.usc.edu
> > Subject: RE: Alamosaurus as biggest North American sauropod
> > I think you misunderstand.
> My apologies. and I thank you for the ensuing explanation.
> > Right now, the subject of nomenclature has _no_ metrics applied to it.
> > There is no process for validating _why_, merely _how_, an animal gets a
> > name; just as there is no process that says we should or shouldn't use the
> > names once they've been formulated. The various nomenclatural codes only
> > care about what is technically valid from the _legal_ standpoint, yet many
> > names so validated are not used because they are treated as synonyms.
> > The lack of a system that allows us to qualify _when_ we should name a
> > taxon leads us to where we are, where people from anywhere can just jump
> > in, name something, and then insist that name be used.
> Then the question arises: who should be allowed to name things? (how many
> organisms did Darwin name before he had established himself with the tome on
> > Others with modify taxonomy,
> Others with...?
> (i think the emails ate what you said there)
> > This issue is about nomenclature consistency, and that won't happen until
> > groups agree WHEN and WHEN NOT to name a thing. This leads to the
> > proliferation of papers doing nothing but "clean up" taxonomy, revising
> > what should or shouldn't be synonyms, or determining things to be _nomina
> > dubia_ ... as if that meant _anything_ other than "I don't want anyone else
> > to use this taxon".
> > It is ultimately about ART, and as we all know, ART is extremely
> > subjective. So too is nomenclature in taxonomy.
> But wouldn't that mean that, while there are never rules set up regarding
> naming, there are different paleontological Schools within it?
> (egads, now I have the mental image of a Linnean and a Phylocodian getting
> along as well as an Impressionist and a Romanticist) :)
> ...and it also means that the aforementioned proliferation of papers can't be
> avoided. at least at University. :)
> > Cheers,
> > Jaime A. Headden
> > The Bite Stuff (site v2)
> > http://qilong.wordpress.com/
> > "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
> > Backs)
> > ----------------------------------------
> > > From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> > > To: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org;
> > > email@example.com
> > > Subject: RE: Alamosaurus as biggest North American sauropod
> > > Date: Fri, 9 Dec 2011 19:17:07 +0000
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > > Date: Fri, 9 Dec 2011 10:50:12 -0700
> > > > From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> > > > To: email@example.com; Dinosaur.Mailing.List@listproc.usc.edu
> > > > Subject: RE: Alamosaurus as biggest North American sauropod
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > As collection and investigation proceeds, we should eventually begin to
> > > > collect more and more of potentially new taxa. If we relegate our
> > > > choices for what gets named to reasonably complete specimens and groups
> > > > of such specimens, regardless of the fact that "the fossil record is
> > > > incomplete!!", then the taxonomy is likelier to become more stable, not
> > > > less.
> > >
> > > Then who decides what the minimum acceptible percentage of a specimen is?
> > > (how complete must the "reasonably complete specimen" be?)
> > >
> > >
> > > If edentates or alvarezsaurs were unknown, how much of a skeleton (of
> > > either of them) would this method require to be recognized as a new taxa?
> > >
> > >
> > > > Sustaining the practices of ye old will only provide further momentum
> > > > to continue the tried and true method practiced by systematics of ye
> > > > old merry establishments, of Owen and Marsh and Cope continuing to use
> > > > bits and shreds of skeleton and getting everything terribly wrong.
> > >
> > > So not only should we keep _Brontosaurus_ sunk, but we should also sink
> > > _Apatosaurus_?
> > >
> > > > We can say that science marches on, but we're having to carry the
> > > > corpses of dead scientists who were often quite motivated to name
> > > > anything and everything as though they continue to provide valuable
> > > > insight on what should be named in the future.
> > >
> > > What comes to mind are, "If I see farther, it is because I stand on the
> > > shoulders of giants" and "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a
> > > single step."
> > >
> > > of course, maybe you're right - let's scrap evolution too while we're at
> > > it. Darwin got a lot of things wrong, and there was a lot that was only
> > > learned after his death. (one could extend the analogy to physics and
> > > Einstein/Newton)
> > >
> > > may I request we not throw the baby out with the bathwater?
> > >