[Taxacom] paraphylophobia again

Stephen Thorpe s.thorpe at auckland.ac.nz
Mon Jul 20 01:44:58 CDT 2009

The general problem is knowing when to stop and move on to something  
more productive. Take the Strepsiptera problem, for example. A huge  
amount of time and resources goes into trying to work out the  
phylogenetic position of Strepsiptera within Insecta, but it cannot be  
conclusively solved until a fossil is found which is half-way between  
a strep and something else.

The Reptilia case is different because progress was possible, and the  
results are pretty conclusive, and yet just about everybody still uses  
"Reptilia" as if it were a class alongside Aves and Mammalia! The  
formal reclassification would be messy, but ...

Perhaps we should use an unranked phylogenetic classification above  
family-group level - that would make some things easier. However,  
there is a move to regulate such names by the ICZN, e.g.

Dubois, A. 2009: Incorporation of nomina of higher-ranked taxa into  
the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature: the nomenclatural  
status of class-series zoological nomina published in a non-latinized  
form. Zootaxa, 2106: 1-12.

Whichever way it goes, I certainly wouldn't want phylo- classification  
to take over completely! We need to save Linnaean binomials at least,  
and probably family-group names too ...


Quoting Curtis Clark <jcclark-lists at earthlink.net>:

> On 2009-07-19 14:05, Stephen Thorpe wrote:
>> To retain a paraphyletic "Reptilia" has nothing to do with
>> "remainders", but rather simply ignores the fact that Mammalia and
>> Aves both clearly belong to monophyletic subgroups of "Reptilia".
> Agreed. If I'm reading you right, I don't have any issue with your
> paraphyletic remainders.
> --
> Curtis Clark                  http://www.csupomona.edu/~jcclark/
> Director, I&IT Web Development                   +1 909 979 6371
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