Message 2004-06-0015: Re: Pan-clades, good or bad?

Wed, 16 Jun 2004 00:47:19 +0200

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Date: Wed, 16 Jun 2004 00:47:19 +0200
From: David Marjanovic <>
To: DML <>
Cc: PML <>
Subject: Re: Pan-clades, good or bad?

----- Original Message -----
From: "Christopher Taylor" <>
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, June 15, 2004 11:50 PM

> On 16/6/04 8:30 am, "David Marjanovic" <> wrote:
> > Well. Whether Panarthropoda _is_ an example depends on whether we
> > Onychophora and Tardigrada well-known names. The idea seems to be to
> > all well-known names that contain living representatives as crown-groups
> > to then make Pan-clade names based on them.
>     <Sputter, sputter> I'd say that both Onychophora and Tardigrada are
> *very* well-known names.

I agree. They're _still_ not as well known as Arthropoda, though.

> Not to mention that tardigrades include perhaps the
> cutest of all invertebrates.... :)

Yes! Yes! Yes!
The picture changes automatically every 20 seconds. Don't click.

> >       I really don't like implied names. The Pan- business could become
> > like today's confusing rule of the ICZN that says if one names a family
> > (-idae), one automatically names a superfamily (-oidea), subfamily
> > and tribe (-ini), and perhaps (I don't know) a subtribe (-ina), and when
> > years later someone uses any of those implied names for the first time,
> > have to be ascribed to the author of the family.
> Not so confusing at all. It ensures that if any family is divided into
> subfamilies, then at least one subfamily has the same type genus as the
> family, and it can be inferred simply from that. Also, the type subfamily
> ranks the same in terms of priority as the family. So we don't get a
> situation where the type subfamily is based on a different genus name from
> the type family (if A-idae (publ. 1890) with no subfamilies was
> with B-idae (1891) containing subfamilies B-inae and C-inae, and the type
> genus A was regarded as the same subfamily as C, we wouldn't get a family
> A-idae containing subfamilies B-inae and C-inae, with no indication from
> names that C-inae was the type subfamily).

I wasn't complaining about the eponymy, but about the automatic (and often
posthumous) authorship of the original name's author.

> > While it doesn't avoid the inherent possibility for error in other
> > statements such as "mammals give birth to live young" or "marsupials are
> > characterised by their marsupial bones". Or -- a real example -- "poison
> > spurs are a synapomorphy of Monotremata". (They are at least one of the
> > crown group of Mammalia, with at least one secondary loss; for
> > poison spurs are plesiomorphic.)
>     These are merely examples of being just plain wrong, then.

The last one is correct _for neontologists_. The other two are just plain
wrong (but horribly common).

> > Of course, "Aves is the sister-group to Crocodylia" becomes even
wronger, if
> > I may write that, when those terms are restricted to their crown-groups.
> The statement 'Group A is sister to Group B' is, unless dealing with two
> sister stem clades, always a matter of context, though - which taxa are
> considered in the tree. Aves _is_ sister to Crocodylia in a tree using
> living taxa, for instance.

Well... de facto, but not de jure, because their definitions don't allow
them to be real sister taxa.

> By now, I think this is so much the case that to
> insist on a strictly correct use of 'sister taxa' would merely cause big
> problems in communication, Pragmatism or idealism?

For clades which steadily get newly discovered members (fossils, rainforest
insects...), it may change every year which taxa are de facto sistergroups.

> > BTW... about half of all occurrences of *Crocodylia* in the IPNM
> > booklet are spelled
> > Perhaps this spelling will win? I'd like this, because it's
> > correct, and people seemingly never get used to the y version anyway.
> But the type genus is spelt _Crocodylus_.

Yes. This is what's etymologically nonsense, and what people seemingly can't
get used to. Linné spelled it *Lacerta crocodilus*, BTW.

> Similarly, I dislike the use of the name 'Ornithosuchia' for a clade
> which doesn't include _Ornithosuchus_.

You're in accordance with Article 11.8. Some of Sereno's proposals will
have to be dropped.

> > (Are there really so many zoologists and botanists out there? What about
> > "80+ %"?)
> Not to mention ecologists, molecular biologists, microbiologists...

OK. Ecologists tend not to be systematists, though, and molecular biologists
have a really simple taxonomy:

        *E. coli*
        Not *E. coli*
        *Saccharomyces cerevisiae*

:-> :-> :->
Trust me. I study molecular biology.

> > [...] the definition of *Mammalia* by Luo,
> > Cifelli & Kielan-Jaworowska 2002 -- {*Sinoconodon* + crown-group}.
>     Which, funnily enough, they didn't use in that very paper -
> _Adelobasileus_ was included in Mammalia, despite falling outside the
> phylogenetic definition.

URGH! I must have overlooked that.

> >> BTW: I DO feel Lissamphibia should be abandoned. For one thing, it was
> >> originally coined to *exclude* frogs (!).
> >
> > 1. Nobody knows this anymore. All usages I've seen include frogs.
>     A good point. After all and for instance, Insecta, when first used by
> Linnaeus, included crustaceans as well as insects.


> In this age of computer searches, the need for avoiding punctuation,
> dialectics, etc. in names is even more important then ever, I think. A
> computer can't recognise that Panmammalia and Pan-mammalia
> are the same thing.

They would not be.
        BTW, Google deals just fine with diacritics. It also displays
them -- and entire other scripts -- correctly in its results.

> And punctuation is the first thing to get dropped by sloppy editing,
> or by misspelling.



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