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Re: Nopcsaspondylus has no hypophene, please

Mike Taylor <mike@indexdata.com> wrote:

> Well, maybe.  I think we all agree that slavishly following the
> Linnaean-rank naming conventions is dumb, but in situations like this
> one -- where what you explicitly want is "group containing
> Rebbachisaurus thar is less inclusive than Rebbachisauridae", it seems
> like a handy convention for saying what you mean.
> The alternative is just making a name de novo every time you want to
> name a minor clade, and that tends to lead to bizarre names like
> Laurasiformes as a clade of macronarians.  I'm not crazy about that.

I agree with Mike T. here.  There is a tendency among many authors to
tip-toe around family-level names (-idae, -inae, -oidea, etc), and
instead erect names that are studiously non-Linnaean - such as
Laurasiformes (noted by Mike T.), Lognkosauria, Turiasauria,
Elasmaria, Microraptoria, etc.

In each case, a family-level name would have sufficed.  Authors are no
doubt spooked by the prospect of becoming entangled with the ICZN and
its outdated rules on naming family-level taxa. If you do name a
family, you have to frame the definition in such a way that a Linnaean
hierarchy is preserved for eternity (-oidea > -idae > -inae > -ini).
Then again, even this rule is flouted.  Albert Prieto-Marquez
consistently puts Saurolophidae inside Hadrosauridae in his hadrosaur

I'm fine with abandoning Linnaean taxonomy.  But we don't need to
throw the baby out with the bathwater.  I reckon we can continue to
use clades ending in -idae for minor clades, as long as we exercise
care in defining these clades.  For example, there are available
family-level names for titanosaurian phylogeny going begging:
Antarctosauridae, Nemegtosauridae, Aeolosauridae, Argyrosauridae, etc.
 But because they end in -idae, nobody wants to touch them with a
barge-pole.  Almost nobody; I give credit to Tom Holtz for being brave
enough to resurrect some of these names: