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



House cats and pumas and fishing c=
ats all have a similarity to one another=2C just like tigers to lions=2C bu=
t neither is particularly close to cheetahs=3B thus=2C cheetahs are alone i=
n their genus  (all their siblings are dead).  Similarly=2C field mice have=
  extant relatives all over the place=2C cladistically...tuataras=2C aardvar=
ks and pangolins don't. The way I learned it=2C ranks also demonstrate how =
distinct something is from everything else.

They pretend to do that, too, but they don't. That's because "distinct" has never been quantified.

Oh, there have been a few extremely short-lived attempts to define ranks as times of origins of taxa: everything that originated in the Cretaceous would become, I don't know, an order, and so on. In addition to the obvious problems, _any_ such scheme would cause such enormous upheaval that you might just as well abandon ranks altogether...