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Date: Fri, 15 Oct 2004 23:06:00 +0200
To: PML <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Mention of the Phylocode
> Interesting how the authors conflated the PhyloCode with the issue = of > uninominal/binomial species names. Did they? I just found them using species as an example of nomenclatu= ral changes that are purely due to mood swings -- and not mentioning that= the PhyloCode would solve precisely this problem. > Still, this article leads me to wonder if it isn't, finally, the ca= ll to > reform the ICZN. I was struck by a comment in the 1999 Code which s= tated the > recognition of the need to revise the Code in the near future to incorporate > the concept of monophyly [...] How is this supposed to work, apart from a rule against polyphyletic = taxa (which AFAIK does currently not exist)? Abandoning paraphyletic taxa = would mean to reduce the Linnaean system to the mere _existence_ of ranks a= bove the genus level (as the vertebrate palaeontologist Michael Benton alr= eady does it, putting genera next to infraclasses in his classifications). > Phil Cantino pointed out that use of the vernacular "tetrapod" can continue to > refer to limbed vertebrates as workers wish with no problem in the = former option Apart from being, I fear, hopelessly confusing, it could get us into = some funny situations. For example... it could be illegal. If we tried to = fix the meaning of "t=E9trapode", we would be usurping the job of the Acad= =E9mie Fran=E7aise; I wouldn't be surprised if that were illegal in France. "Vernacular" doesn't only mean "English". This example may or may not be a wild exaggeration, but suppo= se we give *Tetrapoda* to the crown-group and establish "tetrapod" for a me= mber of the apomorphy-based clade. How will we then call a member of *Tetrapo= da*? A "tetrapodan", perhaps? Apart from (again) being very confusing, and _perpetuating_ the mistakes neontologists often make in ascribing fea= tures of the crown-group to a larger clade, this couldn't be translated to = German. I'm not sure, but probably even translating it to French would lead t= o problems. > "[...] These codes derive from > centuries of debate. For all their weaknesses, they are impressive > achievements that can be adapted to reflect new needs. [...]" Not if it is a new need to get rid of paraphyletic taxa. > Does the convention of attaching well-known > names to crown clades in all cases really bestow such advantages th= at the > rest of the biological community will readily see the advantages an= d adopt > this new system? (Heck, *I* am not convinced of this, and I am pred= isposed > favourably to the PhyloCode.) Or will they react as these authors s= uggest, > leaving PhyloCode supporters relatively isolated? We ignore our col= leagues > at our own peril; I really do not think we have the critical number= s that > our graduate students will multiply and spread the PhyloCode throug= hout > biology in future generations, as has been suggested by some. Well said.