[Taxacom] Very bad paraphyly

Kenneth Kinman kennethkinman at webtv.net
Mon Apr 6 11:35:13 CDT 2009

Hi Peter, 
       In this case, if they had asked me, yes I would
have definitely said "don't do it" (very bad idea). But they could have
checked the literature. Packard (in Anderson and Jones), 1967,
"Octodontoid, bathyergoid, and ctenodactyloid rodents", didn't recognize
Tympanoctomys as a genus. Neither did the widely accessible Walker's
Mammals of the World (at least not in the 4th Edition that I have).          
       In fact, it wouldn't at all surprise me if
Tympanoctomys and Pipanacoctomys (and perhaps Salinoctomys as well,
which was also named in the 2000 paper) all turn out to be just a single
polytypic species (three genera for just one species, which would be
even more excessive). If these two new genera had been erected 100 or
200 years ago, it would not surprise me. But this was just nine years
ago, and such excessive naming of new genera shouldn't be occurring,
especially in a well-known group like mammals. This case is not a
criticism of strict cladists (I don't know if they are cladists at all).
It's just another case of excessive splitting or lumping that is
unnecessary and destabilizing.  I'm an "equal-opportunity" critic,
whether you're a strict cladist or not.  Just call them as I see them.

Peter Hovenkamp 
It would be so much more convenient if people just checked with you
before they erected a genus... 

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