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Re: Sauropodz r kewl WAS: silly conversation on 2012 US presidential race



On Tue, Apr 17, 2012 at 9:24 AM,  <tyazbeck@comcast.net> wrote:
> But the system can be set up to be easier or more simple to navigate. A lot 
> of genus names can be confusing. One of the Linnean system's main benefits is 
> having ranks which illustrate the magnitude or size of a grouping. But yes, 
> it is mainly taste.

Nowhere is this more evident than in Linnaeus' writings themselves.
His genera were often *much* broader than anything used as a genus
today. Some examples:

Ursus (bears) included racoons (Ursus lotor).

Lacerta (lizards; nowadays just sand lizards and kin) included caimans
(Lacerta crocodilus) and salamanders (Lacerta salamandra). (Yet,
strangely, Draco volans, the flying dragon, was not included!)

Vespertilio included all bats (nowadays just two species).

Simia (no longer used as a genus) included all anthropoids except
humans. He wanted to include humans as well, but felt the backlash
would be too severe. As it was, he pushed his luck including Homo,
Simia, Lemur [including colugos], and Vespertilio in the same order,
Primates. (Bats and colugos have since been removed.)

The early dinosaur researchers also used genera very broadly. Look at
all the species that have been assigned to Megalosaurus -- just about
every type of non-maniraptoran theropod and a few non-theropods as
well. (Can't think of any maniraptors assigned to Megalosaurus, but
I'm probably forgetting something.)
-- 
T. Michael Keesey
http://tmkeesey.net/