Message 2001-06-0080: Re: Fwd: Society for Phylogenetic Nomenclature

Tue, 15 May 2001 13:59:54 -0400

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Date: Tue, 15 May 2001 13:59:54 -0400
From: Scott Redhead <redheads@EM.AGR.CA>
Subject: Re: Fwd: Society for Phylogenetic Nomenclature

Thanks Phil:

Let me try to focus some of the issues.=20

1. Until such a society is established there is no official body approving =
any such code named the PhyloCode. What is posted, is a draft of a code. =
Useful as it is for discussion purposes, there is basically no PhyloCode. =
Nobody has agreed on a set of rules and recommendations.

2. I am becoming tired of discussion stating that the [unapproved] =
PhyloCode will solve this or that problem. This is equivalent to waving a =
magic wand. Recent discussions have revealed how much discord there is =
even between participants on this listserver. Virtually nobody refers to =
specific articles in the draft PhyloCode. Everybody is singing to their =
own tune.  Until the participants start citing specific articles, =
stipulating how they will be used to resolve specific issues, nobody will =
be able to see if the ideas work. If you cannot cite specific articles, or =
be bothered to do so, then you are wasting your time (and a lot of other =
peoples) drafting a code nobody wants to use.

3. I assume the draft PhyloCode is intended to cover all life forms. =
Assuming this to be the case, participants should realize that their own =
area of specialization is not general knowledge. If I begin to discuss the =
Nidulariaceae, Cyathus, Neolectales, Plectania, Archaeoascomycetes, =
Gasteromycetes, Rhodophyllus, Ascocybe, etc. how many of you would know =
what I was talking about or where to check on the discussion? Or would you =
care? I suggest that participants stat citing specific publications so =
that someone else could actually follow their discussion, if they so =

Take for example this discussion -  (May 1 from Kinman) " I see no great =
need for formal taxa Theropoda, Coelurosauria, Maniraptora, etc., when =
informal names (theropods, coelurosaurs, maniraptors,
etc.) suffice.  If Lophotrochozoa is a synonym of Bilateralia, as I =
believe it is, I certainly hope Bilateralia was cladistically defined =
first, so that it will have priority."

What the heck does this mean? That was a rhetorical question. I'm not =
certain I want to know or care. But I would like to know how anybody would =
decide which names are to be used, by the citation of specific "PhyloCode" =
articles and specific publications with phylogenies.

Earlier I mentioned how proponents of the draft PhyloCode could not agree =
on species naming. The reply was that the [draft] PhyloCode does not cover =
species. I should then repeat myself, and reiterate that there is no =
PhyloCode. There is an unapproved draft PhyloCode. It is impossible to =
know if a sanctioned PhyloCode will or will not cover species. I need to =
point out that an advocate of the PhyloCode and original participant, =
Fredrik Pleijel, wrote an article, now cited in the draft PhyloCode =
Preface, i.e. PLEIJEL, F. 1999. Phylogenetic taxonomy, a farewell to =
species, and a revision of Heteropodarke (Hesionidae, Polychaeta, =
Annelida). Syst. Biol. 48:755-789, where species are rejected and =
uninomials are used for "parts."

Where exactly does any future PhyloCode stand on this issue? Who can =
answer? There is no Society. There is no approved code.

Scott R.

>>> Philip Cantino <> 05/15 10:37 AM >>>
Scott Redhead asked:

>Does the Society for Phylogenetic Nomenclature exist? If so could
>someone please give us details on membership, by-laws, etc. or
>directions on where to find this information.

The Society does not yet exist, but it will be established before the
PhyloCode is implemented.  Several of us have been discussing the
logistics of how and where to hold an initial meeting of people
interested in forming the Society, but no definite plans are yet in


Philip D. Cantino
Professor and Chair
Department of Environmental and Plant Biology
Ohio University
Athens, OH 45701-2979

Phone: (740) 593-1128; 593-1126
Fax: (740) 593-1130


Feedback to <> is welcome!