Message 2003-02-0008: Re: New Dinosauricon Taxon Pages: _Therizinosauria_

Sun, 02 Feb 2003 08:24:39 -0800 (PST)

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Date: Sun, 02 Feb 2003 08:24:39 -0800 (PST)
From: "Jaime A. Headden" <>
To: List PhyloCode <>,
Subject: Re: New Dinosauricon Taxon Pages: _Therizinosauria_

--forwarded with Luc's permission--

Luc Bailly ( wrote:

<"species" is unnecessary here, a hybrid can't be a species.>

   Why not? We're dealing with arbitrary assignations of identities. We;ve
decided or not what a species is. If a species is a morphologically or
genetically unique entity, then it should be noted that in the latter, a
hybrid species is quite distinct from either of its parent species. It may
not be genetically capable of passing on its own genes, but this is true
theoretically of sterile individuals of populations that are NOT
individual species. As also shown, I think, in tiger/lion crossings the
product hybrid can to a degree mate with one of the parent species. This
suggests the possibility of selective advantage in varying the genepool by
reintegrating ancestral or unique genes. Hybrids may actually be
neccessary functions, and show, not that each parent is a distinct
"species" in the classical sense (not conflating into any other species,
perfectly isolated) but are genetic identities that, also rather than
being perfectly isolated, are permutable with respect to one another.

<Hmmm... True, but there's a way to take that in account, and to keep the
usual binome IMHO.

You got the clade _Therizinosauria_, including _Therizinosaurus
cheloniformis_, _Erlikosaurus andrewsi_, _Alxasaurus elesitaiensis_,
_Beipiaosaurus inexpectus_, etc... Now imagine all the species fall under
_Therizinosaurus_, or _Therizinosauria_ if you prefer, you keep the binome
and you only refer to the species and the clade.>

   But this has already been done. The structure of referencing species and
abandoning ranks is the only mquestion here, but it requires that all
names be unique to species. Otherwise we can go the road of Cantino et
al., not particularly pleasing to the majority of taxonomists raised on
mother's Milk of Linnaeus (and, I must admit, myself) that the binomen is
a unseful and handy way of referening the smallest fossil taxon. By
removing the sense of a genus, and _merging_ it with the species, one then
can use the "role" of the genus and turn it, as it was, into a single
superspecific taxon of any note that contains only species. And however
many of them. But is not longer involved in the ranking process, is not
called a "genus" and is not treated as one. Therefore the name can be
_anything_. Take the _Leo leo_ and _"Tigrinus" tigris_ clade, which by
hybridization, appear closer to one another than either are to each other
member opf _Panthera_, a name which may be left to the leopard, _Panthera
pardus_, as originally coined by Linné.

    |--"Scansonatator" onca
        |--Panthera pardus
            |--Leo leo
            `--"Tigrinus" tigris

   They are all clades, and only species are at the end. Step away from the
convential structure advocated by mythic "special" taxa like "family" or
"genus" or that most despised, "order". Hell, we can end the feud between
Woese and Mayr as to how many kingdoms there can be or domains, and simply
use names, cause that's all that's really important.


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.

"Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969)

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