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Re: Sauropodz r kewl WAS silly ramble



God, this all sounds like a revolution is brewing! So are we going to use 
combiinations of numbers rather than acual names in the future?
----- Original Message -----
From: "David Marjanovic" <david.marjanovic@gmx.at>
To: "DML" <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 6:20:44 AM
Subject: Re: Sauropodz r kewl WAS silly ramble

> >> (Well, that or dinosaur paleontologists could stop putting every
> >> new species in its own genus, already!)
> >
> > I think they should (at least for the most part) stop pretending to
> > recognize species at all.
>
>  but then wouldn't the Genus be the new LITUs?

No. There wouldn't be genus names anymore, just clade names.

>  (with people then saying about genera what people now say about
>  species)

There wouldn't be genera, or at least official genera, anymore... and do 
you know _what_ people say about species? As of February 2009, there 
were 147 species concepts, many of them describing totally different 
kinds of entities that have nothing in common except the _word_ 
"species". Depending on the species concept, there are from 101 to 249 
endemic bird species in Mexico, for example.

> > To most of the fossil record, only the most boring morphological
> > species concepts can be applied;
>
>  While exciting things might help on the recruitment drives, science
>  doesn't depend on excitement for its survival - if it did, we might
>  have to throw out the Scientific Method.

That's not what I mean. According to some concepts, species cannot or do 
not interbreed to produce fertile offspring, or they are ecologically 
distinct, or they evolve together, or other such things. To test whether 
an assemblage of individuals is a species under any such concept, you 
need to be able to do some kind of population biology: you need to have 
a lot of individuals that live(d) at the same time, and you need good 
information on their geographic distribution. In the fossil record, that 
kind of information is usually not available. All that's left are 
morphological species concepts: "if they're distinct enough, they're 
separate species" and refinements of that. Those concepts, for the most 
part, are also how clades are recognized in the fossil record (except 
that some morphological species concepts allow you to use plesiomorphies 
to diagnose species, which you can't do with clades). In short, the 
_biologically interesting_ species concepts cannot be applied to most of 
the fossil record; what we usually do is find LITUs and call them "species".

> > you might as well call them LITUs* instead of species. The only
> > problem is that the ICZN forces everyone to pretend to recognize
> > species, because an organism can't bear a name at all if it's not
> > referred to a species.
>
>  or a subspecies, but point taken.

A subspecies can only be named if it's referred to a named species.

>  Though haven't those ICZN rules helped us all thus far? Not only do
>  they allow us to carry on a conversation (if I say "tigers are the
>  best cats," which tigers do I mean - the Latin American ones, or the
>  Asian ones?)...

What do you mean? Nobody has ever proposed abandoning all nomenclature 
altogether.

Perhaps you'd like to read the PhyloCode? It's compact enough to be read 
in one good evening.
http://ohio.edu/phylocode/

>  but they also keep the splitters from going berserk

They don't. They don't even try. _Peer review_ may keep splitters from 
going berserk, but the rules themselves have no problem at all with 
making every individual its own phylum.

Perhaps you'd like to read the ICZN? It's long and convoluted, though.
http://www.nhm.ac.uk/hosted-sites/iczn/code/

>  He||,

Don't be ridiculous. This list doesn't censor hell. In most of the 
world, including much of the USA, it's not even considered a swearword 
(and hardly used as such).

>  everything in PhyloCode will have to be named

what is this I don't even

Really, I'm speechless. Nothing at all will _have to_ be named according 
to the PhyloCode.