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Re: Paleozoic tetrapod papers

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

> There _is_ something wrong with having homonyms that are governed by the same 
> code, and the ICZN governs all names at the species-group, genus-group and 
> family-group ranks.
> The rank of subfamily (with its mandatory ending -inae) belongs to the family 
> group.

I agree that homonyms should never be allowed for genera/species.
Having two genera named _Cacops_ would be a very bad thing, and this
is something that the ICZN should police.  But I can't understand why
it's so bad to have two clades named Cacopinae.

Having the ICZN govern all family-level clades is more of a hindrance
than a help.  In the age of phylogenetic taxonomy there is no good
reason why a clade ending in family-group suffix (such as -inae or
-idae) has to follow one set of rules, whereas a clade ending in any
other suffix follows another.  This quaint tradition goes against the
grain of current phylogenetic taxonomy, which uses hierarchial clades,
and sensibly ignores Linnaean ranks such as "phylum" and "order" and

The reason why I think Eucacopinae is a bad idea is because this name
implies it contains a genus called Eucacops.  As mentioned, the
problem could have been bypassed by calling the new clade
("subfamily") Cacopsinae or Aspidosaurinae.

> Orders and phyla, conversely, do not belong to any of those groups; most 
> rules of the ICZN, including priority, don't apply to them.

Yes, the ICZN says we can have two clades named Tardigrada (because
it's not a "family group" name) but not two clades named Cacopinae
(because the -inae suffix deems it to be a family-group name).  Ranks
such as "phylum" and "order" and "subfamily" have long outlived their
usefulness.  So we do we still stick to these outdated ICZN
conventions for family-level groups?