Message 2001-06-0067: Re: [Making Up Names _versus_ Emending Names

Sat, 12 May 2001 12:29:33 +0200

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Date: Sat, 12 May 2001 12:29:33 +0200
From: David Marjanovic <>
To: PhyloCode mailing list <>
Subject: Re: [Making Up Names _versus_ Emending Names

>      There were already emended alternate spellings in the literature for
> groups you mention, Echiura, Sipuncula, Annelidia, Gnathostomula.

As I tried to write, I've seen Echiura, Sipuncula and Gnathostomula (though
more rarely than -ida), but Annelidia is totally news to me...

> It and Pogonophora are probably just subclades of Phylum Annelidia
> anyway.

Probably. A Nature paper from 3 May puts *Riftia pachyptila* into
Vestimentifera, and this into Polychaeta.

> And Gnathostomula is not a separate phylum either

This is obviously subjective.

> ----it's related to
> Gastrotrichea, Rotiferea, and Acanthocephalea (which are also often
> erroneously regarded as separate phyla).

Yesterday I've found a paper (hardly read it and didn't copy it :.-( ) in
Zoologischer Anzeiger. It contains a morphological tree of Metazoa and finds
Protostomia to consist of (Cycloneuralia + (Gnathifera + Spiralia)),
Cycloneuralia containing Gastrotricha, Kinorhyncha, Loricifera, Priapulida,
Nematoda and Nematomorpha, Gnathifera (new) of, IIRC, (Gnathostomulida +
(Micrognathozoa + (Sessionida [or however this is spelled... :-] ] +
(Acanthocephala + Eurotifera)))). There is an 18S rDNA tree in the paper on
acoel relationships I mentioned some days ago that finds Gastrotricha
outside of Ecdysozoa, as the basalmost Lophotrochozoa.

> There are far too many phyla
> floating around, and it just obscures their relationships.

Only if we stick to ranks!

>      Catenulida is an Order, within Class Turbellarea (Phylum

Catenulida _was_ an order. In the lecture "General Biology IV: Comparative
Anatomy, Morphology and Biology of the Animals", which is rather traditional
(no cladistics, no Ecdyso- & Lophotrochozoa, Articulata), I was taught that
the partition of Plat(y)helminthes (I don't know Greek, but probably
linguists will do scary things with you when they see -helmintha,
standardization or not) into the classes Turbellaria, Trematoda and Cestoda
was old and outdated (AFAIK not even the word "paraphyletic" was mentioned),
and that nowadays the classes were Catenulida, Rhabditophora (which includes
Neodermata which includes Trematoda & Cestoda) and Acoelomorpha. The 18S
rDNA tree I just mentioned finds Catenulida as basalmost flatworms, but the
two orders of Acoelomorpha (Acoela + Nemertodermatida) far apart, the former
as basalmost Bilateria, the latter high up in Rhabditophora.

> Halkieriida is an Order in Class Machaeridea.

Ah! What is Machaerida?

> Order Tullimonstrida is the
> sole member of Class Tullimonstrea (Phylum Promollusca, which also
includes 2
> Classes of hyoliths, other fossil classes, and sipunculans might belong
> as well).

Promollusca is news to me... is it paraphyletic?

> Class Phoronidea contains Order Phoronida and probably the fossil
> Order Helicosyringida.

I see.

>      And since you forgot to mention it,

I didn't know it...

> there is also Pycnogonida [...]. What I have done is
> just an extension of what others have started, and I finished the job
since I
> was classifying all organisms anyway (fossil and living).


>  Luckily the ones you cited are all -sauriformes, so you know they are
> taxa at the subclass or supraordinal level.

Aaaah! Sorry!!! Mammaliaformes? (OK, only of interest with the crown group
concept of Mammalia.) Amniotiformes?

> Such -formes names also crop up
> in a few other groups where the cladists started splitting taxa into
> pectinate series that are often found to have little hierarchical
> and many of the names have been (or will be) thrown on the garbage heap.

It seems to me that the ones I mentioned are very stable.

>      There are too many formal taxa as it is,

Others say there are still too few... Life is diverse...

> and I think phylocode is going
> to open the floodgates of cladistic excess.

I don't think so -- all those "excesses" have already happened.

> You don't have to formally name
> clades to discuss them,

Sure. For example, (*Pseudolagosuchus* + Dinosauria) has not been named and
is discussed from time to time. If it will be discussed much more often,
however, it will surely be named, because "the unnamed node containing
*Pseudolagosuchus* and Dinosauria" is a bit cumbersome.

Even the most ardent cladists have realized in the meantime that the old
premise "every node must be named" is nonsense, because there are
potentially as many nodes as species minus one, and additionally there are

> and I think I have found a way to cladistically nest
> taxa without all the side-effects of pure cladism.

I must admit that. However, you also omit the IMHO beneficial side-effects
of pure cladism, such as the lack of ranks that permits to have more than 5
levels of hierarchy.

> Finishing the job of
> standardization is just icing on the cake (but it's controversial, as it
> been for a very long time--- many ornithologists fought standardized
> like the world was coming to an end).

I'm uninformed -- When? Why?

> Well the world kept on spinning, and
> they are now the universally accepted ordinal names.

As I've said before, standardization of endings is certainly a good -- the
only logical -- idea if we keep ranks. Someone should have done this 50 or
100 ore more years ago. Just IMHO we shouldn't keep ranks, and the number of
cladists grows steadily, so hardly anybody will ever use your system -- it
comes too late.


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