[Taxacom] middle ground approaches (in both paraphyly and the end-Cretaceous extinctions)

John Grehan calabar.john at gmail.com
Tue Aug 14 09:36:09 CDT 2018

If one wants to remove taxa then that's one way of doing it. Not sure if it
is a compromise as it is just a way of showing what is left out. And if one
wants to leave out members of a group then that is one's personal choice. I
think that is at the bottom of the matter. It is not a choice of
'extremes', but a matter of preference, whether group names include all
members or not. My personal preference is for inclusion. That appears to be
the majority view these days, not that majority itself is anything other
than expression of preference at the time.

John Grehan

On Tue, Aug 14, 2018 at 9:07 AM, Kenneth Kinman <kinman at hotmail.com> wrote:

> John asked: "Wonder what a half paraphyletic/monophyletic group looks
> like?"
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> ----------------------------------------------------
>        I have been presenting such groups in classifications on Taxacom
> for years (which I call "semi-paraphyletic" or if you prefer
> "semi-holophyletic").  This middle ground approach is to insert a
> semi-paraphyletic marker {{in double brackets}} to show the cladistic
> placement of a taxon (exgroup) that has been "removed".  It's not
> really completely removed since the marker shows its cladistic placement in
> the mother taxon.  Such a cross-referencing system in a classification can
> make classifications much more stable and therefore more useful.
>      The alphanumeric coding to the left of the taxon names can be ignored
> if you are not interested in their cladistic relationships.  I also put a
> % sign after a singly paraphyletic taxon (a double %% for the rare doubly
> paraphyletic taxon like Reptilia).  All this is illustrated in part of the
> Reptilia classification which I posted here back in 2004:
>      _1_ Subclass Lepidosauria% (basal diapsids)
>           1  Araeosceliformes
>           2  Plesion Coelurosauravus
>           3  Plesion Apsisaurus
>           4  Younginiformes
>           5  Eolacertiliformes
>           B  Sphenodontiformes
>           C  Squamatiformes
>           6  Ichthyosauriformes
>           B  Sauropterygiformes
>           ?  Thalattosauriformes
>           7  Choristoderiformes
>           8  Trilophosauriformes
>           B  Rhynchosauriformes
>           9  Protorosauriformes
>          10  Proterosuchiformes%
>          _a_  {{Archosauria}}
>     _1_ Subclass Archosauria% (ruling reptiles)
>           1  Suchiformes% (basal crurotarsans)
>          _a_  Crocodyliformes
>           2  Plesion Scleromochlus
>           B  Pterosauriformes
>           3  Dinosauriformes%
>          _a_  {{Aves}}
> ------------------------------
> *From:* John Grehan <calabar.john at gmail.com>
> *Sent:* Monday, August 13, 2018 8:23 PM
> *To:* Kenneth Kinman
> *Cc:* Taxacom
> *Subject:* Re: [Taxacom] middle ground approaches (in both paraphyly and
> the end-Cretaceous extinctions)
> Ken's appeal for middle ground may be laudable, but its not really
> pertinent to science. The idea of 'middle ground' is a political concept, a
> sort of juggling of different opinions where each gives up some of their
> position to accommodate others. This is not science in the sense that
> science is about trying to identify what is going on in the universe and so
> far as we may understand the universe, there is no middle ground. Either
> something is or it is not and selecting an opinion between conflicting
> views of what is or is not has nothing to do what what really is or is
> not.
> Deciding to utilize groupings that leave out some of their members is
> certainly a choice that anyone is free to make. And if there is a majority
> opinion to recognize some as such then fine, but its just a political
> decision (all decisions that require a vote are political, just like
> whether Pluto is a planet or not).
> Wonder what a half paraphyletic/monophyletic group looks like?
> John Grehan
> On Mon, Aug 13, 2018 at 8:29 PM, Kenneth Kinman <kinman at hotmail.com>
> wrote:
> Hi All,
>       As one who usually looks for a middle ground, I think this nasty
> feud was senseless.  The volcanic eruptions were massive and certainly
> would have had a severe impact on biodiversity.  But it would have been the
> asteroid impact that finished off the dinosaurs that remained (as well as
> other taxa).  If it weren't for this double whammy (massive volcanism
> followed by an enormous impact), some dinosaurs might have gotten through
> it.  But the one-two punch was just too much.  Such a middle ground view
> makes sense, and it would have avoided a senseless and nasty feud.
>                    --------------Ken
> P.S.  The current feud over formal paraphyletic taxa is also senseless.
> Instead of two extremes (the zero paraphyly of strict cladism vs. the old
> excessive use of paraphyly), a middle ground recognizing the most useful
> and least controversial paraphyletic taxa would be a perfect middle ground
> approach.

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