Message 2005-12-0036: Re: Fwd: Re: An alternative to the Companion Volume?

Mon, 24 Oct 2005 18:31:50 -0700 (PDT)

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Date: Mon, 24 Oct 2005 18:31:50 -0700 (PDT)
From: [unknown]
To: David Marjanovic <>, Phylocode <>
Subject: Re: Fwd: Re: An alternative to the Companion Volume?

David Marjanovic ( wrote:

<- However, we need such a compromise. I see the poetry, but I want t=
o have a
clear situation as soon as possible. Five or even ten years may be le=
ss than
possible, but I'm not going to wait for 100 years before _any_ names =
become valid.>

  Why would you have to wait 100 years? The names used today are vali=
d. It's
their application and use as standards in nomenclature for the purpos=
es of
cladistics that requires validation. Jon's proposal is waiting for, a=
s I agree,
for the studies to catch up to uses bandied about fast as electrons o=
n wire.
The time delay, in fact, allows us to be able to sit and think rather=
hastily run out are favorite names and uses as it suits us. That's ju=
allowing the problem to fester. We can, as we HAVE been doing, allow
definitions and their applications to be provisional until agreement =
And I think that finding MUTUAL agreement on a definition and use of =
a name is
MORE important than determining that a name can only be valid once it=
's been
defined, and thus must be published NOW. We've been using names like =
and Taxaceae for the last century and more, and they are applied almo=
universally save for fossil basal forms and the subsequent shifting o=
f their
innards (as in bird "orders").

  An example:

  Bourdon, E. 2005. Osteological evidence for sister group relationsh=
ip between
    pseudo-toothed birds (Aves: Odontopterygiformes) and waterfowls
   (Anseriformes). _Naturwissenschaften_ DOI 10.1007/s00114-005-0047-=

  "Abstract The phylogenetic affinities of the extinct pseudo-toothed=
   remained controversial. Some authors noted that they resemble both=
   and allies (Pelecaniformes) and tube-nosed birds (Procellariiforme=
s), but
   assigned them to a distinct taxon, the Odontopterygiformes. In mos=
t recent
   studies, the pseudo-toothed birds are referred to the family Pelag=
   inside the Pelecaniformes. Here, I perform a cladistic analysis wi=
th five
   taxa of the pseudo-toothed birds including two undescribed new spe=
cies from
   the Early Tertiary of Morocco. The present hypothesis strongly sup=
ports a
   sister group relationship of pseudo-toothed birds (Odontopterygifo=
rmes) and
   waterfowls (Anseriformes). The Odontoanserae (Odontopterygiformes =
   Anseriformes) are the sister group of Neoaves. The placement of th=
   (Galliformes) as the sister taxon of all other neognathous birds d=
oes not
   support the consensus view that the Galloanserae (Galliformes plus
   Anseriformes) are monophyletic."

  Defining Galloanserae for whatever grand support it has had recentl=
y may in
fact be wrong, if Galliformes is basal to a ((Anseriformes +
Odontopterygiformes) + Neoaves) clade. Careful planning of such conti=
will in fact require robust support and analyses of various other for=
ms to take
into account the possible variation in relationships, arguing rather =
that there
may NOT be robust support for such a taxon as Galloanserae, and that =
of nomenclature either requires extensive foresight to formulate a du=
rable, yet
flexible definition. This cannot be left to just those contributions =
in a
companion volume, but rather may require instead the cooperation of t=
he entire
field of ornithology to help figure out how best to formulate use of =
names like
"Galloanserae" that fits the diversity of data. As it it, databases o=
comparative anatomies and genebanks, not to mention morphological cha=
datasets, need to be larger. There are currently more characters used=
morphological studies of the non-avian Theropoda (about 100 or so tax=
included) than has EVER been used for any group of birds, arguing tha=
t there
are some serious philosophical and taxonomic inclusiveness or exclusi=
going on that needs to be examined. Without such examination, nomencl=
ature and
definitions need to be provisional, and should not be mandatory for f=
of PhyloCode. It will, in end, antagonize many researchers ANYWAY, bu=
t seeking
community effort and agreement is worth more, I think, than personal =


Jaime A. Headden

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

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