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Re: Sauropodz r kewl WAS silly ramble

David Marjanovic <david.marjanovic@gmx.at> wrote:

> 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...

I agree wholeheartedly with David here.  Linnaean ranks are just more
trouble than what they're worth - which is not very much.

Linnaean ranks have traditionally been used to provide some
hierarchial stability to classifications.  But even this stability is
illusory.  You only have to look at insects to see how our increased
knowledge of hexapod evolution has resulted in upheaval of the
traditional ordinal classification.  Termites ('order' Isoptera)
evolved from inside the cockroach 'order' (Blattaria).  Similarly,
fleas ('order' Siphonaptera) and flies ('order' Diptera) evolved from
with the scorpionfly 'order' (Mecoptera). The 'order' Phthiraptera
(lice) evolved from within the booklouse 'order' (Psocoptera) - and
possibly more than once, making Phthiraptera polyphyletic.  And so on.
 The point being that these time-honored 'orders' actually obfuscate
our understanding of insect phylogeny.

And it's even worse for birds.

> See also: *Carcharodon megalodon* = *Carcharias megalodon* = *Carcharocles
> megalodon*. You want to follow the literature on that one species, you have
> to know three names. (Or, at least, _I_ know of three; there might be more.)

There's also _Otodus megalodon_.  The entire _megalodon_ naming issue
is a world of pain.