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RE: Nopcsaspondylus has no hypophene, please

  As long as we are afraid to "throw the baby out" with the bathwater of 
Linnaean taxonomy, that water will stay and stagnate. Without discarding the 
whole batch for the sake of trying to nitpick the weevils from our bread, we 
are telling ourselves we should just keep eating the bad bread, and then 
further justifying this by telling others that "the weevils are nutritious." 
This is no different from the _ex post facto_ justification of Linnaean 
nomenclature for the sake of some "stability" that isn't actually there (i.e., 
"Ranks" do not equal stability).


  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 

> Date: Tue, 29 Nov 2011 09:41:39 +1100
> From: tijawi@gmail.com
> To: dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject: 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 its outdated rules on naming family-level taxa.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
> phylogenies.
> 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:
> http://www.geol.umd.edu/~tholtz/dinoappendix/HoltzappendixWinter2010.pdf
> Cheers
> Tim