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Defending Standarized Endings

Ken Kinman wrote:

<And these are not "neotaxa". The endings are simply
"emended" in an attempt to standardize names of orders
and classes.>

  I am not attacking your standarization of taxonomic
endings, but instead your altering of established
endings. In accordance with the ICZN and ICBN,
taxonomic endings for plants and animals are
established at the time of publication _in genesis_.
Re-naming of these taxa results in exactly what the
rules of priority were established to counter-act: an
endless profusion of names. A name is a name. It is
all fine and dandy to try and have the taxonomy
reflect the ranking (I can see the logic and
effectiveness when you originally argued this), but to
_change_ an established name (especially some names
that have been around for over two centuries) will
create chaos. There _will_ be those who will object,
and will not follow, or when use appears in review, or
the lit if it passes, will argue against use. Not that
this is always a bad thing ... but in this matter, you
are likely to find a great deal of conflict in the
mere aspect of names reflecting rank; then it's not
the names, it's the rank.

  BTW, my use of the term "neotaxa" was meant to
reflect the re-naming of a taxon, rather than a _taxon
novum_. Here's a possible solution: define your taxa
differently from the use of the taxa they replace:
they can both include and stand for these taxa if
defined right. I'm not saying do this, but you could
avoid the conflict of objection over names that ignore

<...Emended standardized endings are nothing new, and
the majority of chordate orders were already
standardized with the -iformes suffix a long time ago
by the ichthyologists and ornithologists. And 
botanists and bacteriologists already use -ales for
all their orders.>

  Mark, everything from that point _on_ was
standardized. You can try to argue for standarization
in _new_ taxa, and you would probably succeed; with
the PhyloCode still in the works that would be of
great contribution, I think; but attempting
retroactive standarization will be a lot more
difficult, as I stated above.

<Standardization is coming, like it or not, and I am
attempting to do this without the disruption that
mandating typification would cause.>

  This I would not doubt, actually. I would embrace
it, too.

  But what defines the meaning of a Class, and Order,
a Kingdom? What are the criteria? If you had to use a
scale, what would it be? I could say, every two
species makes a genus, two genera a tribe, two tribes
and sub-family, two of those a family, two of those
... and you could go up. Nodes are so cool because
they are quite determinable definable == { a + b }.
They will exist no matter where these two taxa are

  Define a class, then find out you would rather
exclude it further as an order or suborder or
superclass or infraorder or whatever, and you would
have to coin a name or change that name to reflect the
new rank; and you would have an endless profusion of
names. I don't know, but that does not sound very
useful a system; you would have -ea's and -ida's and
what-nots all over the place.

<Would you like to go through what the ornithologists
went through many decades ago? I would rather emend
endings now, rather than wait for a more radical
typification of names.>

  The neornithine paradox is one reason I'd like to
see ranks go the way of the dodo, to use a columbiform
term. -iformes can stand as a standard term for
anything above suprafamilial or the term that stands
above that:

  Pica > Picidae > Pici > Piciformes
  Passer > Passeridae > Passeres > Passeriformes


  Genus > Family > Suborder > Order

  Thereby obviating the need for an avian "class." --
oops, different argument, but it seems relevant to a

  There is no need for a rank unless it will act only
as a term to denote how many nodes or stems (or both)
are above the genus (to use yet another rank).

Jaime "James" A. Headden

  Dinosaurs are horrible, terrible creatures! Even the
  fluffy ones, the snuggle-up-at-night-with ones. You think
  they're fun and sweet, but watch out for that stray tail
  spike! Down, gaston, down, boy! No, not on top of Momma!

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