Message 2002-02-0015: Re: VERY Stupid question, but I dont know the answer...

Wed, 20 Feb 2002 20:50:35 -0800 (PST)

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Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2002 20:50:35 -0800 (PST)
From: "Jaime A. Headden" <>
Subject: Re: VERY Stupid question, but I dont know the answer...

Nick Pharris ( wrote:

<I'm all for eliminating formal ranks, but for the sake of everyone's
sanity, can't we *please*, *please* have some sort of requirement that
clades whose names end in -ina be nested within clades whose names end in
-ini, -ini within -inae, -inae within -idae, and -idae within -oidea?>

  I see no logical reason to formulate such things. Standardizing this in
a complex where it's species, first nomen above that, and first inclusive
group above that, traditionally this is thought of as -idae. Logically, we
would start at -ina, but this won't happen. I think standardizing these
will be seen as an approximation of rank names, and thus would not be a
wise choice. See example below:

  Chris Brochu named Globidonta (1999, JVP 19(suppl. to 2): pg. 48) to
comprise the stem-based taxon of the least inclusive clade including
*Alligator* but not *Diplocynodon*, but the latter is defined on a sister
stem as Diplocynodontinae, compared to Alligatoridae. There was no need to
"elevate" Diplocynodontinae to the "next" level as this would be
unneccessary. To treat all coined taxonomic names as novel is to give them
autonomy from rankings. A name is a name, with a definition as to it's
content. It doesn't matter what Latin stem is at the end of it. That's an
artificial concept derived from the false notion of Linné's that the names
applied to ranks must reflect the rank. This is now obvious as in several
case issues where taxa had to be "elevated" based on their new, or
ever-changing position within a phylogeny. Closer to home, take
Titanosauria, which comprises a less inclusive clade than Titanosauroidea.
This was hardly the "intent" of the formulation as it was intended to
reflect the very paradigm that taxonomist's preserve in the naming of many
taxa. When naming more inclusive "suprageneric" taxa, it does not, nor
should it, have and _idae_ at the end. In fact, no ICZN provision forces a
species into groupings of -idae ... only genera. Ignoring the quantitative
effect of "genera" on systematics and adopting a binomial "species" as
forwarded by Flynn et al. (2000, _JVP_ 20: 422) with *Menadon*
(specifically _not_ referred to as a species as covered in the
Introduction of that paper when it was coined by them and it's type
species) will simply and easily sidestep this edict of the ICZN for those
who wish to do this.

  I personally would like to try starting this trend of non-family-ish
taxa, as it allows more imagination. One who wishes to use nominotypic
names can end the new phrase with an approproate Latin or Greek stem
referring to a group, or simply form a noun by ending it in -ia or -ae or
-es ... and so forth.

Jaime A. Headden

  Little steps are often the hardest to take.  We are too used to making leaps in the face of adversity, that a simple skip is so hard to do.  We should all learn to walk soft, walk small, see the world around us rather than zoom by it.

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