Message 2005-12-0041: Phylocode and Evolution

Mon, 14 Nov 2005 14:50:13 +0000

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Date: Mon, 14 Nov 2005 14:50:13 +0000
From: [unknown]
Subject: Phylocode and Evolution

Under Phylocode the Theory of Evolution would be defined as? Terminol=
ogy wise the current definition doesn't conform to PhyloCode naturall=
Yisrael Asper=20
Pittsburgh PA

> I am reposting this (with a few small modifications) because I thin=
k this
> year's congress season is over, so more people might read it now th=
an the
> first time...
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "David Marjanovic" <>
> Sent: Friday, October 21, 2005 7:14 PM
> I apologize for the somewhat unusual length; I think this matter is=
> important. Please bear with me.
> The idea of having a Companion Volume is to avoid having a gold rus=
h, a
> competitive race where people run to get their favorite names and
> definitions registered first. I wholeheartedly agree with this inte=
> But the Companion Volume may not be an effective way to implement i=
t. It
> has two potential big problems:
> - If too few people contribute as authors and editors, the risk ris=
es that
> unwise* or unpopular names or definitions could be set in stone. Th=
> would just about automatically lead the LARGE number of systematist=
> who have never heard of phylogenetic nomenclature to despise it, an=
> perhaps it would even drive away some current adherents. If the num=
> of people in EITHER group becomes too large, the PhyloCode will go
> the way of the BioCode.
> - If too many people are involved, it will never reach publication.
> * =3D will produce confusion when the topology changes in unforesee=
n but
> foreseeable ways.
> The balance between these dangers is probably _very_ difficult to f=
> and if we run out of luck, that balance might itself lie in an unde=
> place (like containing many largely wise but rather unpopular names=
> definitions _and_ being published 10 years from now).
> Therefore I would like to suggest an, in my humble opinion, safer
> alternative: Instead of having one volume published at once, we cou=
> spread the work over time -- by implementing the PhyloCode piecemea=
> Here's how I imagine that:
> 1. On the website, and maybe in the first issue of the Society's jo=
> we post a notice that people are encouraged to publish papers (pref=
> collaboratively) on the nomenclature of their favorite clades. Such=
> already exist; two examples (from tetrapods, where -- unfortunately=
> almost all of the current discussion on PN happens) are cited below=
> _____Maybe the publication of such papers should be restricted to t=
> Society's journal. This way we would make sure that we wouldn't mis=
s any
> of them, and that all would abide to the PhyloCode. The disadvantag=
e would
> be that it would (probably) slow down the whole process.
> 2. The names in such a publication become _provisionally registered=
> 3. A certain amount of time later (what about some five to ten year=
s?) the
> Committee on Phylogenetic Nomenclature (or whatever part or appoint=
> thereof) looks what has become of the names in that paper: Are they=
> used? Are they being ignored? Are they still being discussed?
> _____If they are in general use, the CPN changes their registration=
> provisional to durable (except maybe if the authors do not want thi=
> anymore);
> see the fourth point.
> _____If they are being ignored, the CPN deletes them from the regis=
> database.
> _____If the discussion is still going on, it won't be interrupted -=
- the
> CPN extends the time of provisional registration by another term.
> _____Depending on the CPN's workload, the duration of a term should=
> considered a minimum (if the CPN has too much to do, it can simply
> consider the issue later; all terms are automatically extended to t=
he point=20
> at
> which the CPN makes a decision).
> 4. Upon durable registration, the authors of the names stay the sam=
e, and
> priority sets in. I'm not sure if the year and the registration num=
> should change to reflect the date of durable registration, or wheth=
er they
> should stay, too, which might make the Code retroactive. This issue=
> discussion.
> 5. After the nomenclature of a part of the tree has been set in sto=
ne in
> this way, anyone can name newly discovered clades in that part and =
> immediately register them durably, but should maybe not need to do =
> (This should probably be restricted to new, as opposed to converted=
, names.)
> In other words, each part of the tree gets its own Companion Volume=
> its own date for the implementation of the PhyloCode.
> _____There is, by the way, a precedent for this: under the ICZN, pr=
> starts in 1758, except for the spiders which start in 1751. (This
> particular publication is simply declared by the ICZN to have been
> published in 1758. We don't need to do such nonsense, we have the
> registration numbers.)
> I hope to have started a vigorous discussion (and to have elevated =
> impact factor of PaleoBios by an order of magnitude ;-) )!
> Addendum:
> It may not be easy to just cancel the Companion Volume; I hear ther=
e is
> already a hopeful publisher, and so on. But dropping it may not be
> necessary. As Mike Taylor has pointed out onlist:
> "I'd just like to point out that David's proposal does not [necessa=
> entail
> discarding the Companion Volume -- merely that the definitions
> proposed in that volume, like all others, would originally be
> _provisionally_ registered, to be affirmed or rejected after a
> reasonable length of time.  That way, we'd avoid painting ourselves
> into a corner."
> I can see two potential advantages in this particular approach:
> - It would greatly lower the threshold on who is enough of an "expe=
rt" to
> contribute. So if, for example, we don't find an entomologist, we s=
> define Hexapoda, Insecta, Pterygota etc. ourselves and let the
> entomologists discuss that. Ideally this would force them to famili=
> themselves with PN and to start discussing definitions with each ot=
> - It might speed up publication because it would spare the editors =
> decision of whose preferred names get into the Companion Volume -- =
> include all of them! On the other hand, it might (!) be a good thin=
g if
> our first publication were internally consistent. :-)
> References:
> - Walter G. Joyce, John F. Parham & Jacques Gauthier: Developing a =
> for the conversion of rank-based taxon names to phylogenetically de=
> clade
> names, as exemplified by turtles, Journal of Paleontology 78(5), 98=
9 -- 1013
> (2004)
> - Michael P. Taylor & Darren Naish: The phylogenetic taxonomy [sic]=
> Diplodocoidea (Dinosauria: Sauropoda), PaleoBios 25(2), 1 -- 7 (200=
> downloadable from


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