Should we ditch infageneric ranks?

Guido at Guido at
Wed Sep 28 09:52:32 CDT 2005

Jim Croft wrote:

> Saying an equivalent cladogram in words remains a bit of a
> challenge... 'there is one main branch with a fork at the end, one
> branch of which is divided, and each of these branches is divided
> again; about half way along the main branch is another branch which is
> undivided; about a quarter way along the main branch is another branch
> which is divided.
>  Each of these branches have names: the first one is called... '
> yep... works for me...
> I guess the thing about nomenclature is that it is supposed to be
> useful and informative.

A name is an 'identifier'. But an ID is obviously not the same to everyone,
which causes different name concepts.
When a name is a strict 'pin-pointer' it doesn't has to reflect any feature of
what is named. Such a name is useful but not informative.
When a name says also something about what is named, the name is less useful the
more information it contains. One of the consequences is that such a name has to
be changed every time the information changes. The more information it contains,
the more frequent it has to be changed...

Guido Mathieu

Peperomia Research Group
Department of Biology
Ghent University

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