Message 2003-02-0015: Re: New Dinosauricon Taxon Pages: _Therizinosauria_

Sun, 02 Feb 2003 21:25:27 -0800 (PST)

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Date: Sun, 02 Feb 2003 21:25:27 -0800 (PST)
From: "Jaime A. Headden" <>
Subject: Re: New Dinosauricon Taxon Pages: _Therizinosauria_

Mike Keesey ( wrote:

<So you would want to give every species a unique praenomen (based on a
genus name, if available)? Then what's the point of having the second part
of the name at all? And how are we supposed to name all those species
which have never been type of their own genus?>

   Fossil taxa. Most of which have their own "genera" in monospecific
structures. It solves two problems: 1) a, the "genus" has no meaning when
compared to a species except its existence as a rank "higher" than a
Linnaean species, and b, since a rank has no meaning, and no one has yet,
to my knowledge, been able to explain what a rank (or even a genus) is --
removal of both benefits taxonomy in general; 2) problems with Cantino et
al., which would reduce all species to a single name, either the first or
second names (this would also require redundant species names to be
changed, which is a larger problem than I propose to solve, or resolve all
"genera" names, which is the same as I propose, only mine retains the
additional data (see Flynn et al.)), whereas Linnaean taxonomy serves to
perpetuate (1) under the guise of serving the human tendency to
categorize, however much is departs from even a semblance of relationship,
instead of mandatory relationships and structures (Linnaean taxonomy
forces a structure into taxa that did not have one, in the sense that
Linné conceived of).

   This also removes the subjectivity inherent in Linnaean taxonomy such as
the relationship of individual taxa to one another. Though complexly
involved (but dealt with by both Lizevey and Sibley & Alquist for bird
"orders"), it is far from unwieldy or infeasible, and is being shown to be
workable given different groups, such as ongoing work with turtles,
crocodylians, lizards, amphibians, basal tetrapods, basal gnathostomes and
fish-like animals, and in this day and age possibly key, in dinosaurs and
birds. Plants, with their different genetic constraints on inheritance and
biological compatibility, may not be a good model for what is essentially
an animal pioneering system of taxonomy. It is especially not feasible for
bacteria and other "simple" organisms.

<There are millions of named species, and far more currently unnamed. It
does not seem possible to give each one a unique, pronounceable name. This
is why I (at least provisionally) went with the option of including the
citation as part of the full name.>

   Most, if not all, have nearly unique and pronouncable names. For beetles
and ostracods, this gets excessively creative. Its not very hard to create
taxonomy to suit this, and to compare that all taxa are, if nothing else,
unique. The current systems and proposals I feel underestimate this
variability. We are looking for a system that more closely approximate how
most of us feel the actual animals relate to one another, not just their
phylogeny, but concepts of speciation, identities of species, and so

   This is not a criticism of the PhyloCode, but I feel PhyloCode may
benefit from considering the initial footwork done by such as Brochu and


   Jaime A. Headden

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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