Message 2001-06-0004: Re: Nomina Conversa

Thu, 12 Apr 2001 11:28:12 +0200

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Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2001 11:28:12 +0200
From: David Marjanovic <>
To: -PhyloCode Mailing List- <>
Subject: Re: Nomina Conversa

> In correspondences with people who are against phylogenetic taxonomy, it
> seems to me that one of the key turn-offs of PT is the radical changing of
> certain traditional taxa. Indeed, when I first heard about PT, that really
> turned me off to it, and I had to look past it to see all the benefits.

I know the feeling...

> I really think that a lot of people would open their minds to it if
> certain names were dropped from PT.


> Two specific ones in mind:
> _Reptilia_: Clade(_Chelonia_ + _Lacerta_ + _Crocodylus_) is pretty
> different from the traditional usage (non-mammalian, non-avian _Amniota_).
> A big chunk has been removed (_Synapsida_) and a big chunk has been added
> (_Aves_). Furthermore, "reptile" is a very widespread vernacular term (in
> English, anyway) with strong connotations of cold-blooded, scaly animals.

not only in English

> Finally, the meaning ("creepers") doesn't fit many of the members
> (_Pterosauria_ and _Dinosauria_, for example) well at all.
> (Okay, the first argument is the primary one here; feel free to ignore the
> other two.) Couldn't the clade be named Neosauropsida or Eureptilia or
> something, the word "reptile" left as an informal term for ectothermic
> amniotes, and the taxon "Reptilia" dropped?

At present, *Sauropsida*, *Reptilia* and *Eureptilia* all have the same
contents (*Mesosaurus* was found to be a parareptile/anapsid in the
*Eudibamus* paper). So I suggest to use *Sauropsida* (coined by T. H.
Huxley) for the stem-based sister taxon of *Synapsida = Theropsida* and not
to define *Reptilia* and *Eureptilia* under the PhyloCode.

> _Osteichthyes_: Why do we need the "-ichthyes" part? Why not call the
> clade Ostei and let "Osteichthyes" drop, as so many other paraphyletic
> taxa have been dropped?

There are 2 junior synonyms, *Eu-* and *Neoteleostomi* (which are mentioned
in The Dinosauricon). These sound better IMHO.

> It seems to me that changes like these would make PT a LOT more palatable
> to many people, thus expanding the audience. I understand the rationale
> behind the crown clade definitions, and if everyone else agreed to use
> them that way, I'd have no problem with it. But a lot of people find these
> difficult to swallow.
> Of course, a line has to be drawn somewhere. It's my feeling that such
> converted names as _Dinosauria_, _Theropoda_, _Coelurosauria_,
> _Synapsida_, and _Therapsida_ probably are a good idea.

I agree

> (Yes, the argument
> I made about the popularity of the term "reptile" applies to "dinosaur" as
> well, but people misuse "dinosaur" a lot, even in the traditional sense.
> Furthermore, there were proposals to place Aves in Dinosauria under the
> Linnaean system.)

These proposals all AFAIK included elevating Dinosauria (or Archosauria) to
class status and removing it from Reptilia. In his Dinosaur Heresies Bakker
has suggested to make Diapsida a superclass, so probably he wanted to
destroy Reptilia altogether. I don't think it's a good idea that PT puts
dinosaurs including birds "back" into *Reptilia*.


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