Paraphyly=mistakes? (There's the rub)

Richard Pyle deepreef at BISHOPMUSEUM.ORG
Sat Jan 12 09:57:49 CST 2002

> I would venture to say that besides those feathery reptiles
> (the birds) we shouldn't forget the hairy reptiles either!

Actually, given that living Coelacanths are generally now regarded as
belonging to the clade that includes tetrapods (e.g., Nelson 1994), maybe it
would be better to talk about whether to include "those terrestrial fishes".

> Okay.  I agree, Reptilia is an assemblage of separate branching events, of
> which birds (and mammals) represent other(s).  From this standpoint,
> Reptilia is of minimal use.

To an evolutionary biologist -- perhaps.  To the vast majority of other
biologists ot there -- maybe not.

> Again, I don't disagree with you here either.  In the end, you want a
> classification system that mirrors the evolutionary (divergence) events
> that have taken place.  I suppose my message was talking on a different
> level about the common usage of terms like "reptile" and "moth".

I also agree, but my message was talking about the history-rich Linanean
nomenclatural system, rather than common names.

> I totally *agree* here.  I've *always* had a problem with arbitrary
> assignment of a group to a classification level.  With the current
> classification scheme, the (uninformed) reader is somehow led to believe
> genera of butterflies, birds, ferns, etc. are somehow equivalent.

Does this mean that you also support the un-ranked Phylocode approach?


P.S. Although it may seem that I am a lobbyist for Phylocode, I actually
seriously doubt that I will ever use it in my own work.

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