Message 2001-02-0072: Distinction between Traditional and Phylogenetic (was Re: Codes)

Tue, 13 Feb 2001 16:24:43 -0500 (EST)

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Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2001 16:24:43 -0500 (EST)
From: "T. Mike Keesey" <>
To: -PhyloCode Mailing List- <>
Subject: Distinction between Traditional and Phylogenetic (was Re: Codes)

On Tue, 13 Feb 2001, Philip Cantino wrote:

> My concern about distinguishability is largely satisfied by the
> optional use of a distinguishing symbol.  Although optional, I hope
> that in the botanical community at least, the convention of using some
> sort of a symbol to designate PhyloCode names (for both clades and
> species) will become essentially universal.

If I may opine on this subject, I'd like to say that I much prefer the
distinguishing system given in Example 6.1B.2 than in Example 6.1B.1. That
is, this:

A) Clade _Pongidae_ vs. Family Pongidae (IMHO) better than:

B) _Pongidae_[P] vs. Pongidae[L]

...which is still better than something like:

C) !_Pongidae_ vs. Pongidae

The reason being that A communicates the distinction most clearly. No
special "initiation" is necessary -- you just have to know what clades and
families are. It might be possible for someone to figure B out on their
own, but it isn't nearly as lucid. And C is impossible to figure out
without knowing what the "!" means beforehand; unlike B, it isn't even
mnemonically easy. Plus, it makes the PhyloCode version look like the

I'm wondering why, in the aforementioned examples in the PhyloCode, the
traditional taxa are italicized. I thought only generic and specific
traditional taxa were supposed to be italicized under traditional rules.
(As can be seen above, this adds another distinction between the two forms
-- and the italicized PhyloCode version looks somehow more "official"! Of
course, this distinction would be lost on genera and clades converted from
genera, e.g. Clade _Pongo_ vs. Genus _Pongo_.)

I do have to admit that method A doesn't work at all when it comes to
species. Of course, it's hard to come up with a fix when we're not even
sure what PhyloCode specific names will look like, or if PhyloCode species
really will be different enough from ICZN, ICBN, etc. species to warrant a

One possible idea: always use rank names with traditional taxa, even
species (e.g. Species _Pongo pygmaeus_), but just use PhyloCode names
straight up (_Pongo-pygmaeus_ or _Pongo pygmaeus_ or whatever). I think
this would lend a further air of authority to the PhyloCode names, and
pave the way for the day when no distinction need be made.

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