User talk:Peter M. Brown

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Welcome material has been commented out.

My Advice[edit]

By definition, a biological synonym is obsolete. Also, if you encounter an obvious error in the fossil record portion of a taxobox, feel free to go ahead and change it, then find a suitable reference later. I've done that a couple times before, like the time I saw that the taxobox for sand dollars said they were from the Silurian, even though the oldest known sand dollar dates from the Paleocene.--Mr Fink (talk) 00:29, 15 January 2011 (UTC)

Taking the urea or uric acid[edit]

Hi, Peter. Recently you started a discussion at User talk:Philcha#Urea in Triassic therapsids. I've found something you mind find interesting and possibly useful - see my Talk. --Philcha (talk) 10:08, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

Your interest in paleontology[edit]

Hi, Peter, I looked at your User page and found your interest in paleontology, especially for 4th or 5th grade children. Some things you might find useful:

Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event[edit]

I reverted this edit of yours in the article. I was going to move it, when I realized that we already had some significant information about marsupials and monotremes in the Mammals section. The lead of the article needs to present general information, not a lot of specifics. If we discussed what happened to marsupials, really a very small part of the mammalian clade, we'd have to mention a vast number of genera in the lead. It becomes unwieldy. And honestly, anyone who comes to read the article is probably there to find out what happened to the dinosaurs. It's no big deal, but several people have given you some ideas on how to edit these articles. One more thing. A lot of these articles are featured articles. They meet the highest standards of Wikipedia, and represent the best that the project has to offer. K-T is a featured article, and as such, it has been meticulously cleaned up and maintained. One of the big things I watch for is the quality of citations and sources. If you are going to add a source, I would highly recommend you learn to use the "cite" feature of Wikipedia. For example, the book you cited can be written as such<ref name="isbn0-632-05637-1">{{cite book |author= |title=Vertebrate palaeontology |publisher=Blackwell Science |location=Oxford |year=2005 |pages= |isbn=0-632-05637-1 |oclc= |doi= |accessdate=}}</ref>. It would show up as: Vertebrate palaeontology. Oxford: Blackwell Science. 2005. ISBN 0-632-05637-1.  See WP:CITET for more information. Good luck in editing. It takes time to learn everything, and we are all here to help! OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 05:14, 22 April 2011 (UTC)


Sure enough, if margarine is from the Greek, it probably shouldn't be in the section dealing with Romance languages. I moved it to the non-Romance paragraph. I actually hadn't known the etymology of margarine before, and I was a classics major! Vanisaac (talk) 00:22, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

I think that did it. We went from awkward, to misleading, finally to infomative. Vanisaac (talk)

Definition of clade[edit]

I agree strongly with the point you made when editing Phylogenetic nomenclature, namely that a wikilink is not a replacement for a definition, so a definition of "clade" is needed before its use. The one you gave, though, is not quite precise enough. "A group consisting of a species and all its descendants" doesn't exclude the possibility that there could be other species in the group. Ereshefsky [Ereshefsky, Marc (2001), "Philosophy of Biological Classification", Encyclopedia of Life Sciences, Chichester, UK: Wiley, ISBN 0470016175, retrieved 2011-02-05 ] defines a monophyletic taxon (i.e. a clade) by saying that it "contains an ancestor and all and only its descendants". Although the qualification is needed, I find the phrase "all and only" clumsy. Somehow I don't like "a group consisting only of a species and all its descendants". I usually write something like "A group consisting of a species and all its descendants, and no other species", but that's not very elegant either. I'd really like to find a sentence which expresses precisely what is required. Any ideas? Peter coxhead (talk) 19:18, 13 August 2011 (UTC)

I actually copied that definition from the Clade article. The way I use "consisting of," the components listed are exhaustive. Otherwise I say "consisting partly of" or "consisting mainly of." Perhaps, though, mine only a regional use of the term. Would "consisting entirely of" work? How about "composed of" or "made up of"? Peter M. Brown (talk) 20:30, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
Your usage and mine match. It's one of these classic issues in language use. In many contexts, we don't have any doubts as to what "consist of" means. "The team consists of three people" can't possibly mean there are more than three. This source gives one meaning of "consist of" as 'composed of' and then refers on to this discussion which, annoyingly, doesn't include "consist", but does say of "comprise" (which to me is an exact synonym of "consist of"), that it usually implies that all of the components are stated. So I've taken it that, contrary to my personal use, "A consists of B and C" does not rule out to some people that it may also contain D. Then I note that not just Ereshefsky, but other sources, add some extra qualification to the definition to rule out extra species. "Consisting entirely of a species and all its descendants" or "consisting solely of a species and all its descendants" both seem to me better than "consisting only of a species and all its descendants", though I'm not sure why, and this may be down to personal preference or dialect differences. Perhaps it's best left alone, but I thought I'd mention the issue to you, since you seem to care about precision in language (which not everyone does, I find). Peter coxhead (talk) 09:28, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
"Solely" it is! Peter M. Brown (talk) 15:45, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
"A group consisting of a species and all its descendants, and no other species" IS elegant writing. Use italics for "no other species." It will add emphasis and serve the additional purpose of notifying editors that you wrote precisely and it does not require editing. Very respectfully, Tiyang (talk) 08:35, 15 December 2012 (UTC)
"Solely" is more concise; I regard that as a virtue. If you peruse my contributions, you will note that I never use italics for emphasis in the article namespace. Wikipedia is for the presentation of facts, and editorial views—this is more important than that—are not appropriate. Peter Brown (talk) 14:36, 15 December 2012 (UTC)
Personally I feel Peter C. and Peter B.s suggestion of "solely" makes for a more elegant wording. Petter Bøckman (talk) 19:43, 15 December 2012 (UTC)

Monkeys and paraphyly[edit]

Monkeys surely are a paraphyletic group, by the definition that a paraphyletic group is formed by removing a smaller monophyletic group from a larger monophyletic group. Simiiformes are the larger monophyletic group; Hominoidea are the smaller monophyletic group. Taking Hominoidea away from Simiiformes leaves monkeys. Peter coxhead (talk) 20:29, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

I hadn't thought of the baboons as monkeys. I was right, though, albeit for the wrong reason, as Catopithecus was a member of Simiiformes and not of Hominoidea or the monkeys. The accuracy of my edit, anyhow, is more important than the accuracy of my edit summary. Do you agree that monkeys are polyphyletic? Peter M. Brown (talk) 22:25, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
Actually I don't. I didn't revert your edit because you're a serious editor and I wanted to discuss it first. If you look at Monkey#Classification, you'll see that it uses what I think are the traditional terms: Platyrrhini = New World monkeys, Cercopithecidae = Old World monkeys, therefore monkeys = Platyrrhini + Cercopithecidae. This group is definitely paraphyletic. The article Baboon begins "Baboons are African and Arabian Old World monkeys ...".
There are (at least) two senses of "monkey":
  • A popular, completely non-scientific sense, which depends on superficial appearance and behaviour. In this sense, baboons aren't typical monkeys (whereas gibbons are more likely to be called monkeys by non-biologists, in my experience, based on their arboreal behaviour).
  • A sense based on grades, in which monkeys form a grade between prosimians and apes/humans, which used to correspond to the scientific classification (cf. reptiles). This is the sense used in Wikipedia, pretty consistently. This sense is paraphyletic.
So I think your edit should be undone. Peter coxhead (talk) 09:30, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
Undoing the edit would restore the claim that monkeys are paraphyletic.
They are not, if this is taken to mean that the group consists solely of animals in one clade but not in exactly one subordinate clade. Though a complete phylogeny would be unwieldy, the particular summary in Monkeys#Classification is misleading in that it does suggest paraphyly. As the phylogeny in the List of fossil primates#Simiiformes makes clear, genera like Catopithecus, while included in Simiiformes, do not belong either to Hominoidea or to the monkeys (Platyrrhini together with Cercopithecidae). The list includes many other genera of this sort.
The wider sense of polyphyly, allowing the subtraction of more than one subordinate clade, is nearly empty. Every group with any common ancestor at all qualifies as paraphyletic unless a limit is set on the number of clades that may be excluded.
If, by monkeys = Platyrrhini + Cercopithecidae, you mean that the monkeys consist solely of the Platyrrhini and the Cercopithecidae, then they are polyphyletic, as they do not include their common ancestor in the basal Simiiformes. The lead paragraph of Monkeys, as I have modified it, is therefore correct.
Now that you have called my attention to it, I should probably modify Monkeys#Classification as well. Peter M. Brown (talk) 16:59, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
Two separate issues:
  • I think you mean "The wider sense of paraphyly, allowing the subtraction of more than one subordinate clade, is nearly empty." The precise definition of paraphyly in the case of more than one clade being removed is an issue which the current WP articles don't fully deal with, and which is indeed confused in the literature. It's something I intend to return to; I have collected sources on this, but not yet written anything.
  • The classification section in the Monkey article only discusses extant species. (I've changed it to make this clear.) So what I meant was extant monkeys = Platyrrhini + Cercopithecidae. If extinct species are included, the question is then whether monkeys (extant + extinct) = Simiiformes - Hominoidea, or in more self-consistent language whether monkeys (extant + extinct) = simians - (apes+humans). What's the evidence that this isn't how the word "monkey" is used?
Peter coxhead (talk) 18:56, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I meant "paraphyly."
I look forward to reading your presentation of the varied senses of the term.
There isn't a question whether
extinct Platyrrhini + extinct Cercopithecidae + extant Platyrrhini + extant Cercopithecidae = Simiiformes - Hominoidea.
They are not equal, since the expression on the right-hand side denotes a group including Catopithecus but the expression on the left-hand side does not.
In the legend to the diagram in Monkeys#Classification, as you have revised it, you continue to call the monkeys paraphyletic. It seems that you are introducing the extant/extinct distinction somewhere (where?) in the definition of paraphyly, something that none of the -phyly articles do. Do you take the same approach to monophyly: for a group to be monophyletic, is it necessary only that it include a species and all of its extant descendants? Mammalia would then be monophyletic, but so would mammalia minus the multituberculata. Is that your intent?
I do not understand your final question. What's the evidence that what isn't how the word "monkey" is used? Certainly, the word is used for extinct species, the Jamaican Monkey for example. Peter M. Brown (talk) 21:37, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
The edit I made to Monkey was only intended to be a "holding" one: to point out that the classification and phylogeny described there are only for extant species. No position on the paraphyly issue was intended; this is as yet "unsettled" between us, in my view.
The question is whether "monkey" means all simians (i.e. all members of Simiiformes), extant or extinct, minus all hominoids, extant or extinct. If it does, then monkeys are unquestionably a paraphyletic group. If it doesn't, i.e. if there are some other simians, extant or extinct, which are excluded from the group "monkeys", then although under some definitions of paraphyly monkeys would still be paraphyletic, I wouldn't say this in the Monkey article, because it would need too much qualification to be useful.
[Side remarks: There are some sources which use terms like "monophyly" and "paraphyly" only in relation to a given tree, so they might well say that extant mammals are monophyletic based on the tree topology for extant mammals. I do not wish to say this; sorry if that wasn't clear.]
So at the risk of repetition, here's my argument.
  1. All monkeys = all simians - all hominoids ≠ all Platyrrhini + all Cercopithecidae
  2. Extant monkeys = extant simians - extant hominoids = extant Platyrrhini + extant Cercopithecidae
  3. The paraphyly (under most but not all definitions of the term) of the extant members of a group depends on the paraphyly of all its members, extant or extinct.
  4. All monkeys are a paraphyletic group because of (1).
  5. Extant monkeys are a paraphyletic group because of (3) and (4).
The key question is whether (1) is correct as to the way the term "monkey" is used, i.e. whether extinct simians which are not in Platyrrhini or Cercopithecidae or Hominoidea are called monkeys or not. I think that they (probably) are. The sources I can find either don't use any common term or used monkey. But there may be other sources that I don't know that are clear that monkey is not used in this way. Peter coxhead (talk) 10:43, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
Addendum: On reflection, in terms of the article, it doesn't seem to me to matter whether monkeys are paraphyletic or polyphyletic; the key point is that they aren't a monophyletic group. So I've edited Monkey so that it consistently says that monkeys aren't monophyletic. Given the confusion in the literature over the precise definition of "paraphyly", and the fact that the key issue in current scientific classification is whether a group is monophyletic or not, not whether it is paraphyletic or polyphyletic, it may almost always be best to use "not monophyletic". Peter coxhead (talk) 11:00, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
You beat me to it! I, also, was going to substitute "not monophyletic."
Over a thousand words in our exchange, and it turns out that all we disagree on is a minor matter of usage! Peter M. Brown (talk) 18:05, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
No, I still think that monkeys are a paraphyletic group and that your change to "polyphyletic" was wrong. But I doubt that either of our views can be attributed to reliable sources, so agreeing on "not monophyletic" is the best solution. Peter coxhead (talk) 08:36, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

Evolution of mammals[edit]

I understand your position in re citations. Yes, there are a hundred but some of the material isn't properly sourced. I am under the impression that a tag like refimprove is to be added in order to alert the main editors (the 'maintainers' if you will) that there's an issue to be addressed. However, it hardly cripples an otherwise good article. No reason for an edit fracas over it. Cheers. PainMan (talk) 02:42, 24 January 2012 (UTC)

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Hi, Peter. How far do you to go with this article - I was about to go for GA. I've done a few on zoology and paleontology. If you was about to go for GA, I'll help providing I get clear credit as 2nd nominator in the nomination. .

I have an illness which make it for me to hear and say words, and use online dictionaries. So your "A resource on the pronunciation of paleontological terms" is important to I, and I have some ideas.

Also my illness makes it difficult to use {{ref ... }}, so I use SfnRef for the full citation in the "References" and Sfn for 1 use of the citation. E.g. {{ref ... }} (ref to avoid error messages), so I use Sfn and SfnRef, e.g. at Brachiopods and Robert Rossen

  • {{[[Template:Ruppert, E.E; Fox, R.S., and Barnes, R.D (2004). Invertebrate Zoology (7 ed.). Brooks / Cole. ISBN 0030259827.  |Ruppert, E.E; Fox, R.S., and Barnes, R.D (2004). Invertebrate Zoology (7 ed.). Brooks / Cole. ISBN 0030259827.  ]]}} is the full citation at "References"
  • {{sfn}} is 1 use of the citation. --Philcha (talk) 07:14, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
I take it, Philcha, that you approve of my edits to the Mammal article. It's great to know that. Positive feedback on these Talk pages is rare; the article has over 200 watchers, but there's no way of telling whether the fact that they have offered no serious challenges to my edits means that they approve of them or that they don't care. As the article averages over 3000 hits daily, I certainly hope that some are paying close attention. Ucucha seems to be doing so.
As you can see from my user page, I am very much an amateur when it comes to mammalogy. As I am in no position to maintain that all sections of the Mammal article are factually accurate, I cannot nominate the article for GA.
My main concern in editing Mammal as well as Mammaliaformes and Evolution of Mammals has been to oppose the arrogance of many devotees of the phylogenetic school and, in particular, of those who limit Mammalia to the crown mammals. (Many adherents totally fail to distinguish these two positions.) Having cut my teeth on Kemp and Benton, I started out with a different orientation, one I still think coherent. I do, however, respect both the phylogenetic approach and responsible advocacy of a narrow definition of Mammalia; Rowe's 1988 paper, the foundation for much recent nonsense, is itself a superb piece of work. As I have argued elsewhere on Wikipedia, though, many enthusiasts are concerned with being fashionable rather than promoting a view that they fully understand.
I do think that I have largely achieved my objective of rendering the three articles neutral in this respect. If you want to bring the Mammal article up to GA standards and then nominate it, by all means go ahead. According to the guidelines, "Nominations for articles that are unstable because of constructive editing should be placed on hold," and I have certainly rendered the article unstable in this manner. I'll be happy to stay out of your way until you have gone through the process.
I certainly welcome any help that you can provide on the pronunciation of paleontological terms. is the only source I have found that is at all comprehensive, and I trust it not at all; they put the stress on the fourth syllable of "morganucodon", for example, but I am quite sure that it belongs on the third. My procedure remains the crude one explained on my user page.
Peter M. Brown (talk) 15:30, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
I'm watching mammal too. I quite agree with Peters stance. The mammal article (as well as the related stuff) has a lot of good info, and should clearly be FA material, perhaps with a slight bit of polishing. Petter Bøckman (talk) 18:59, 12 March 2012 (UTC)


Please see Talk:Monophyly#Definition of monophyly. Peter coxhead (talk) 11:11, 17 April 2012 (UTC)


Peter; can you explain what the point of this template is? I'm just trying to understand what all the issues are/etc. Thanks! ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 06:56, 22 April 2012 (UTC)

See my discussion at Template talk:Taxonomy/Mammalia. Peter M. Brown (talk) 16:01, 22 April 2012 (UTC)

Finishing touches to Transitional fossil[edit]

Hello Peter M. Brown, I am the GA reviewer for Transitional fossil. The review has been stuck for some weeks now, with the only outstanding actions being to supply a few missing citations. I notice you've done some work on the article. Would you be up to sorting out the gaps, or do you know other editors who could do the work? with best wishes Chiswick Chap (talk) 12:32, 5 May 2012 (UTC)

No, my interests lie elsewhere. All I've contributed to this article is one reference. The best person for the job is Petter Bøckman; as he has made substantial contributions to this article, though, I expect you've already contacted him. Peter M. Brown (talk) 14:22, 5 May 2012 (UTC)


This is the fourth time you have deleted the explanation that coldbloodedness, scales, and egglaying do not define reptiles although historically such distinctions have been made. The historical evolution of the definition is covered in the article and should be summarized. There is nothing factually wrong with or confusing about what you have deleted. Please revert your last deletions and discuss the matter on the talk page rather than violate wp:3rr. μηδείς (talk) 23:17, 7 June 2012 (UTC)

The fourth time? I reverted on 7 June at 21:07 and 22:42 UTC; I don't know what other edits you are concerned about. In each of these two cases, I think that I provided clear edit summaries. If you regard them as inadequate, please use Talk:Reptile to explain why. Peter M. Brown (talk) 15:07, 13 July 2012 (UTC)


I'm not sure if there's anything specifically about this in official policy, but IMO adding something you know in your gut to be true and then worrying about doing the research later is simply sloppy editing and goes against the spirit if not the letter of the Verifiability policy. I'm not very familiar with the FV template but I was under the impression it was for statements that seem at least somewhat common sense and can likely be sourced with a little digging. The statements on the Cladistics article seemed to be more along the lines of original synthesis, and a source would have to be extremely specific to back up those claims using those specific examples. I've long had an issue with that article as a whole as it looks like the editors who contributed most of the current text are not familiar with Wikipedia style. A lot of it seems to be written like a research article citing sources only as examples in support of the claims being made, rather than as sources which explicitly make those same specific claims as required by Verifiability. As a random example, it would be inappropriate to write "lions are carnivores" and cite one source which describes the limb function and another which describes the tooth morphology. Rather, the claim "lions are carnivores" needs to be backed up by a source that also says explicitly that "lions are carnivores." So, if I saw the statement "lions are carnivores" marked with the FV template, I'd have no problem, because that's obviously likely to be verifiable. But if I saw a statement to the effect that "the carnivory of lions is supported by a suite of characters including their limb and tooth morphology", FV wouldn't be enough, because the likelihood of anybody else coming along and adding a source with that specific claim, clearly originating with the editor, is pretty low. MMartyniuk (talk) 13:00, 18 July 2012 (UTC) Just a heads-up, I started a discussion about this here: [1] Looks like the FV is just another version of citation needed, which is ok to use, but I personally detest it. If something lacks a cite it should be deleted, period, IMHO, not simply flagged as undocumented. But others will disagree with me there :) Anyway, WP Verifiability policy states that it is up to individual editors how to handle unverified content. The responsibility is on the eidtor adding content to document a source. If they fail to do so, or provide a source which does not support the content, the next editor may flag it, delete it, etc. Once it's deleted, a person restoring the info must add a source. So I guess my editorial style of simply deleting unverified content simply accelerates this process... MMartyniuk (talk) 14:17, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

Mats Envall[edit]

This user was community-banned indefinitely blocked because of a long history of disruptive edits. The fact that he freely returns and basically thumbs his nose at Wikipedia community consensus is itself disruptive. By engaging him, you validate his disruption. I have seen others attempt to engage with him in the past, with no positive outcome for the encyclopedia. Perhaps your interchange will turn out differently, but you need to understand that I and no doubt others see it as disrespectful of the Wikipedia community. If you delete this, please extend me the courtesy of indicating in the edit summary that you have read it.--Curtis Clark (talk) 23:53, 11 August 2012 (UTC)

Your advice and background information is most welcome. I certainly shall not delete it. Peter M. Brown (talk) 00:03, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
See here for the kind of behaviour that led to Envall's ban, as well as User talk:Consist. I think there's a community ban discussion somewhere but I can't find it now. The biggest problem with Envall is that he's the sort of user who can drain huge amounts of others' time and energy, without ever leading to an improvement in a Wikipedia article. Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 04:00, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for your reference to the Administrator's noticeboard, which provided me with the reference to Envall's 2008 article. He seems to be influenced by the process philosophy of Whitehead although his general grasp of philosophy is weak; his representation of Aristotle is quite inaccurate. A new development is his reliance on Russell's paradox; he now seems to realize that his denial of the existence of classes requires more justification than he has provided in the past.
The material in User talk:Consist mostly consists of shouting; there is no real attempt to engage Envall's views.
I fully concur that he has no respect for Wikipedia guidelines and that a permanent block is appropriate. Until that happens, however, I see no problem with pursuing an exchange. Peter M. Brown (talk) 17:36, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not about engaging Envall's views. If you wish to engage him further, I have no doubt that you could find contact information for him somewhere else on the web, but he may not post here. Danger! High voltage! 19:46, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
I suppose you're right. My thought was that, since Envall has published in a respected journal, I could incorporate his view in an article as a criticism of cladism. Unless someone else has brought process philosopy into the debates over taxonomy, however, his must be regarded as a fringe view. Peter M. Brown (talk) 20:03, 12 August 2012 (UTC)

I'm going to remove the entire section of Talk:Clade; there's no point to blocking if blocked editors can come back and post at will. Apologies in advance, Peter, for removing your responses, but they'd seem kind of silly sitting there without the rest of the conversation.

I seem to remember that, in the early days of cladistics, others made similar arguments, so although his specific take might be fringe, you can probably find plenty of references from the 1980s to support the general view.--Curtis Clark (talk) 20:10, 12 August 2012 (UTC)

Defining and illustrating polyphyly[edit]

Peter, could you please look at User:Peter_coxhead/Work/Phyletic terminology#Diagram to illustrate polyphyly? It tries to explain my puzzle over how to define and illustrate "polyphyly". I've felt obliged to put this on one of my user pages, rather than a talk page, because of the need to include quite a number of diagrams. I'm inviting Petter Bøckman and Curtis Clark to look at this, too. There may be others who should be asked to comment. Peter coxhead (talk) 10:11, 15 August 2012 (UTC)

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Mats Envall, again[edit]

Please do not engage him on Wikipedia. He was indefinitely blocked, and by posting he is evading his block. It has sufficed to simply delete his posts as he makes them, but if other editors engage him, it will be necessary to go to AN/I to get a rangeblock on his IP (unless we're lucky enough that it's static). Independent of his arguments, he was blocked for disruptive edits, and none of us should encourage him to evade that block.--Curtis Clark (talk) 23:40, 2 September 2012 (UTC)

And I'll add that, other than perhaps violating WP:UNDUE, there's no reason not to include his ideas; the prohibition is on him personally.--Curtis Clark (talk) 23:43, 2 September 2012 (UTC)

Darn it, this time he had a point! And he was not using a talk page for general discussion of the article's subject but making a specific suggestion as to how it might be improved. If the mechanisms and policies of Wikipedia interfere with my responding to an intelligent and relevant post with a post of my own, the policies need to be changed. Please provide or refer me to a fuller explanation of the way things work and instructions as to how to propose such a change. Of course, if Envall is blocked so that he cannot post, I obviously won't be responding, but it's absurd to permit posts but scold me for my response. Peter M. Brown (talk) 00:03, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
I now note that you have deleted both his post and mine. Okay by me. Presumably you would have deleted his contribution if I had not responded. Is it really that much more trouble to delete mine as well? Based on my experience, I expected the section to be deleted, but my comment is still there in the history. Peter M. Brown (talk) 00:11, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
An administrator has now protected the page so that only autoconfirmed registered users can post. I should have asked for that the first time; it is the appropriate response. I apologize for not having thought of it.
Please try to understand the bigger issue. Mats was blocked for disruptive editing. The block was made indefinite, which means that any indication of sincere contrition on his part could well result in the block being lifted. Instead he posts from an IP and identifies himself: he is in effect saying "Your decisions mean nothing to me". It's only because (in my estimation) his posts have been spaced out that no one has gone to AN/I asking for an IP block. And so the only tool left is to ignore him and delete his posts.
I understand that you might want to engage him, and of all the people I've met on Wikipedia, you seem to have the best background to engage him effectively (assuming that he didn't make up his mind years ago). I have no problem with your engaging him, just not on Wikipedia. It's disrespectful of the editors who supported his block, and the editors since who have maintained the block by deleting his posts. Again, I could have left your response (and would be happy to undo myself and remove only his post, if you wish), but (1) your response without his post would seem sort of disconnected, and (2) if it became a pattern to delete his posts but leave the responses, he could still use that to disrupt the encyclopedia.
If he wants to contact you directly, he can use Wikipedia email. I did a quick Google search to see whether I could find an email address for him, but there are several people with his name, so it wasn't immediately apparent, although it shouldn't be hard to figure out. (In the process, I found and deleted some posts he had made to Talk:Holophyly.)--Curtis Clark (talk) 04:20, 3 September 2012 (UTC)

A cup of tea for you![edit]

Meissen-teacup pinkrose01.jpg Just a thank you for your tireless effort to help bringing order to the many systematic related topics! Petter Bøckman (talk) 11:36, 13 September 2012 (UTC)


I have been working on the article Amphibian and have addressed your "citation needed" tag. If you see other things that concern you about the article, especially the Evolution or Classification sections, your help on improving it would be much appreciated. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 10:40, 29 September 2012 (UTC)

You should know...[edit]

...that Administrators cannot change someone's username. That can only be performed by a Bureaucrat, and it's difficult because of SUL. dangerouspanda 16:45, 16 October 2012 (UTC)

Yes, I do know. I thought that "Adminstrator" was more newbie-friendly than "Bureaucrat" and anyhow bureaucrats do administer, don't they? Your correction is certainly appropriate, though. Peter Brown (talk) 18:26, 16 October 2012 (UTC)

Tetrapod classification[edit]


I'll answer you here rather than on my talk page:

I think we should have a more or less "classical" taxonomy as suggested by the edit somewhere. It is far better than the last one in that it 1) is about tetrapods rather than a lot of fish, and 2) actually deals with the whole of tetrapoda. Finding a suitable one should be no problem, I'd suggest one from Romer and Parson or Edwin and Morales, both are "consensus view" taxonomies with most known extinct groups included. Where they differ from modern taxonomies (splitting up of Insectivora for instance) we could add annotations.

I don't know how far down in detail we need to go though. Perhaps only detailing it down to subclasses would suffice and make it more stable. Petter Bøckman (talk) 10:58, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
I am very much in favor of limiting detail. For our readership, there's little point in having more than a couple of dozen subordinate taxa. However, while I don't have immediate access to the books you mention (Romer & Parsons is available at a local public library), I note that The Taxonomicon shows the family Whatcheeriidae, among others, right under superclass Tetrapoda; there isn't even a class, never mind a subclass. Unless Romer & Parsons has another idea, would you suggest omitting these families entirely? Peter Brown (talk) 16:34, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
The Taxonomicon and TOL-web are both both run by hard core phylogenetic taxonomists, partly the the very same people sitting on the board of the PhyloCode. Poor Whatcheeriidae falling outside Amphibia is a result of a strict crown-group approach to naming, something which is not a majority approach. Since the phylogenetic tree at that point is all but well understood, it is an approach we need to stay well away from (though it needs to be mentioned). If you want to have an idea of the complexity of the problem, see Labyrinthodontia#Origin_of_modern_amphibians.
Romer and Parson has the "classical" scheme. It is a bit dated, but it is stable. I think it should be included even if only for an historical reference:

As you can see, this is old-school classification: Orderly and neat and easy to understand. The same or similar schemes are found in any number of standard text books, see e.g. Hildebran & Goslow 2001 "Analysis of Vertebrate Structure". Petter Bøckman (talk) 09:04, 28 November 2012 (UTC)

The Taxonomicon is not limited to crown groups, as it includes Order †Multituberculata, but the taxa listed do all seem to be arguably monophyletic. A limitation to clades is not a fringe position although, as you have said repeatedly on various talk pages, it is a minority approach. Based on my date-limited search of Google Scholar, however, Labyrinthodontia and Euryapsida are fringe and should be mentioned only in an explicitly historical discussion; in papers published since 2000, they seem to be referred to only in historical contexts. Anapsida seems to be minority, though not fringe; a cladogram in Reisz & Scott (2002) shows Anapsida as a clade with Mesosauridae and Parareptilia as the immediately subordinate taxa. I have not read the article in detail, but I note that the Captorhinidae are not shown.
I have no objection to providing historical information so long as it is clearly indicated as such. Readers are more likely, however, to want a high-level taxonomy limited to terms in current use, which would exclude Euryapsida. Can this be provided?
Peter Brown (talk) 22:23, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
Hildebran & Goslow would do I think. The are more recent (2001), yet "historic" in their approach, using a systematics that is the linear descendant of Romer's. It is fairly similar to the one above (I have it at work, been home with a nasty cold for a couple of days), but from memory I think it has Amphibia divided into Ichthyostegalia, Anthracosauria (=Reptiliomorpha), Temnospondyli and Lissamphibia, and have excluded Euryapsida from the reptiles. It also has an extra subclass for Enantiornithes (bringing Aves to three subclasses). So it has no polyphylies and no use of explicitly archaic terms like Labyrinthodontia. I think it would suit the purpose extremely well. Petter Bøckman (talk) 19:19, 29 November 2012 (UTC)
It's Hildebrand, not Hildebran. Whatever. I can readily get access to the 1995 edition, but not to the 2001 version. If 1995 isn't adequate, have you the inclination to undertake a revision of the article?
Get well soon! Peter Brown (talk) 01:21, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
Thanks! I'll post the Hildebrand (sigh...) & Goslow scheme here come monday, and if you think it will do, I'll edit the article. Petter Bøckman (talk) 13:08, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

Michel Laurin's problem[edit]

This help request has been answered. If you need more help, you can ask another question on your talk page, contact the responding user(s) directly on their user talk page, or consider visiting the Teahouse.

See Polydactyly in early tetrapods: Revision history. There is no one on earth better qualified to address this subject than Michel Laurin. User:MrOllie is evidently stalking him, reverting his contributions without comment, in this and a number of other areas, including Reptile, Tiktaalik, Acanthostega, and Mesosaurus, though Laurin consistently provides adequate references. Laurin does cite his own work, but always in a manner that "is relevant and conforms to the content policies" in the language of WP:SELFCITE. A world-renowned expert with significant contributions to a field cannot provide adequate coverage if he ignores his own work, all of which appears in peer-reviewed publications. MrOllie's edit summaries, when he provides them, reference WP:COI, though there has been no violation.

MrOllie has even deleted reference to Laurin in the list of Robert R. Reisz's students in the article on Reisz, though there is no doubt whatever that Laurin was among his students. The relationship can easily be documented. I reverted this change today.

See User Talk: Michel Laurin#Welcome, really, a thread that I started. I have no doubt that, if MrOllie persists in this petty harassment, Laurin will be driven from Wikipedia, which would be a great loss. I, User:Medeis and User:Stranger forever have been reverting MrOllie's deletions, but this will clearly be insufficient. Is there anything else that can be done? Laurin himself asks this question on his talk page; an answer there by some knowledgeable person would probably be of more value than an answer here, though I can certainly relay information.

MrOllie has even complained of COI at User talk:Stranger forever, although this editor's only contributions are reversions of MrOllie's baseless reversions of Laurin's work.

Peter Brown (talk) 19:43, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

I believe WP:AN3 is the place to go for assistance with edit wars, using {{uw-3rr}} on relevant user talk pages if users may be unaware the of polices regarding edit warring. --wintonian talk 20:00, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

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Hi Peter - looking forward to your thoughts on the peer-reviewed literature usage. Also, if you have ideas for the article, I'd love to see them laid out at talk:dinosaur. de Bivort 03:21, 3 January 2013 (UTC)

By the way, I restored the section you removed from the talk page. It's obviously relevant to Abyssal, and Firs, and my preference for the taxobox with the bird in it. It addresses your concerns with said image. Also a continuation of the previous section, which was ultimately about EWT's proposed change. de Bivort 03:26, 3 January 2013 (UTC)

Just in case you were wondering...[edit]

what this was all about; I was trying to click on the IP's contributions link before the page had fully loaded on my iPhone. When it finished loading, the buttons shifted slightly and the spot I had just touched on the screen activated the rollback button instead, which is "hot". I have decided to stop editing from my phone btw :-) --RacerX11 Talk to meStalk me 23:25, 9 January 2013 (UTC)


Having taken many hours of editing to bring Amphibian to FA status a couple of months ago, I am a bit sensitive about people making alterations to the article. There was nothing wrong with your image caption but the citation provided led to an error page, and my replacement source didn't support the statement of most toxic animal, only most toxic frog. I also had to move the image about to get it to agree with the MOS requirements of portraying creatures facing the centre of the page and not squeezing the text between images. Another requirement during the FAC led to the removal of locations from the image captions in general. The careful selection of images in the article for the FAC does not make me welcome additions but this one is relevant to the topic under discussion. In the matter of "my" FAs, I'm like a mother hen fussing over its chicks :) Cwmhiraeth (talk) 06:26, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

I have no problem with the link, so I expect that many others find it usable as well. Do you think that we should append a note to the citation noting that there is sometimes a problem? As you may know by now, I have sent you a wikipemail with more information. Peter Brown (talk) 17:38, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
The present link is fine. It was the original link, given by the editor who added the image to the article, that gave me an error message. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 19:15, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

Contributions to Dinosaur article[edit]


I've been a maintainer of the Dinosaur article since late 2005. Just wanted to let you know that I think your recent contributions were excellent. Please keep up the good work! Killdevil (talk) 18:57, 11 February 2013 (UTC)

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Opisthokont edit[edit]

Cite error: There are <ref> tags on this page without content in them (see the help page). Your recent edit to Opisthokont involved a very interesting paper, which I've now read. It does raise again for me the whole issue of how molecular phylogenetic studies should be used in Wikipedia. The problem is that we mostly don't follow WP:PSTS by using secondary sources. In a few areas there are secondary sources (e.g. the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group for the phylogeny and classification of angiosperms). In many other areas we can't use secondary sources, because they either don't exist, or are seriously out of date. So we use primary sources, journal articles. But these simply don't agree in the case of "deep phylogenies" like the divisions of the eukaryotes, or of the major animal phyla. Sometimes there appears to be consensus; consider Eukaryote#Phylogeny, where the second paragraph (the one that begins "As of 2011, there is widespread agreement that...") has five refs. However, three of these are Burki's research group, so actually there are at best three independent primary sources supporting this statement. How does a reader know whether these three are representative? When I've edited this stuff, as I have, I've tried to find as many relevant articles as I could, but I'm not a subject expert. I don't have any answers, only concerns. I'd be interested to know what you think. Peter coxhead (talk) 21:51, 10 March 2013 (UTC)

Though we are both computer programmers professionally, you must be aware by now that you are far more expert in matters biological than I. I have taken children on nature walks, however, pointed out a tree with shelf fungus growing on it, and told them that they were more closely related to the fungus than to the tree, not thinking that I was saying anything controversial. I was therefore unhappy when I stumbled on this article. I cannot unsay what I said—the group is long since dispersed—but a least I can note the controversy on Wikipedia.
No, we cannot use secondary sources. Where there is expert disagreement, though, neutrality requires us to acknowledge it. Per WP:UNDUE, a contribution of any length does require us to represent viewpoints "in proportion to the prominence of each viewpoint in the published, reliable sources," so one needs to cast a wide net for relevant articles. To modify a single sentence, though, I didn't think this necessary. Molecular Biology and Evolution is a prominent enough peer-reviewed journal that I'm pretty sure it wouldn't publish fringe material, so I'm confident that I can cite it as dissenting view. If you know enough to replace "Some studies support the monophyly" by "Most studies support the monophyly", please go ahead. Peter Brown (talk) 23:33, 10 March 2013 (UTC)
No, my view is quite the contrary – see below. Peter coxhead (talk) 19:24, 13 March 2013 (UTC)
Thank you gents for pointing out this paper, extremely interesting reading! I do lack the computing background of the two of you, but I know enough statistics and genetics to recognise thorough work when I see it. Now I need to edit some of my PP-presentations ever so slightly... Petter Bøckman (talk) 13:53, 11 March 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I agree that this seems very thorough work. I have long been somewhat sceptical of the methods used in computer-based constructions of phylogenies. I personally think that too many WP articles have treated selected primary sources too uncritically, so I wasn't objecting to the edit – quite the contrary. I think that we need to indicate more often that these methods are critically dependent on the selection of the input data, for which this article is an excellent source. I suspect we really shouldn't write "most studies" based on primary sources, although I know I've done it. Peter coxhead (talk) 19:24, 13 March 2013 (UTC)
This article has other uses too I think. It (finally) provides a nice example of what happens with the with a clade name when phylogenetic knowledge changes. My panda-example was not quite there, the Opisthokonts would do nicely. Petter Bøckman (talk) 16:14, 14 March 2013 (UTC)

Paraphyletic groups[edit]

Hi Peter, respectfully: "For the many biologists who accept paraphyletic groups…" I don't even understand what it would mean to "accept paraphyletic groups." That sounds to me synonymous with accepting wrong groups, or, more sympathetically, arguing against revisions to a traditional classification. What am I missing here?Stenen Bijl (talk) 08:52, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

Let me give as an example Stace's standard Flora of the British Isles. In his latest revision (Clive Stace, 2010, New Flora of the British Isles, 3rd edition) while mainly using APG III he explicitly retains a few paraphyletic families "where the segregate taxa ... are very distinctive and do not easily fit in with the paraphyletic taxon from which they are separated", one purpose being to maintain families which are "recognisable morphologically" (Introduction, p. xx). An example is segregating Lemnaceae creating a paraphyletic Araceae. Since this is the standard Flora for the geographical area, recent county Floras, checklists, etc. are all using these paraphyletic families. This is what I mean by "accepting paraphyletic groups". Peter can say for himself what he means! Peter coxhead (talk) 13:07, 4 April 2013 (UTC)
All peer-reviewed contributions in biology utilize some taxonomy or other. Often, taxa not previously acknowledged are proposed with the idea that they will be of use in future work. To accept a paraphyletic group, in my sense, is to use it as a taxon in the assumed or proposed taxonomy. The "many biologists" to whom I refer include, for example, the 150 distinguished specialists from all over the world who joined to urge such "acceptance" in Nordal & Stedje (2005). My use of "accept" is not idiosyncratic.
Using paraphyletic groups this way reflects the view of Willi Hennig, who freely acknowledged their utility for some purposes. One of the merits of monophyletic groups, in his view, was that they could be used to define paraphyletic groups. If paraphyletic groups were wrong groups, this would not be a virtue.
I am defending the clause at issue mostly because its wording represents the resolution of an edit skirmish (of course, we do not edit war!) between me and Matt Martyniuk.
Peter Brown (talk) 18:24, 4 April 2013 (UTC)
Thank you both very much for the explanation! Personally, I still find it weird, almost like a multigenerational edit war between Aristotle and Watson and Crick, but you've demonstrated to my satisfaction and well beyond that acceptance of paraphyltic groups is a real phenomenon in biology. For all the things I despise about Wikipedia, this kind of learning interaction is what I like. Thank you.Stenen Bijl (talk) 05:44, 5 April 2013 (UTC)
Yes, the interaction is most rewarding. Without it, editing Wikipedia would be a lonely hobby; I doubt that I could keep it up. As regards Watson and Crick, I see them as intellectual heirs of Democritus; if Aristotle's arguments against Democritus had some validity, they would apply against Watson and Crick as well. Aristotle was mistaken, but not weird. His distinction between form and substance is relevant to today's concerns: the ICZN Code is founded on a view of taxa as forms while the PhyloCode sees them as substances. Peter Brown (talk) 14:04, 5 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Nordal, I. & Stedje, B., coordinators (2005), "Paraphyletic taxa should be accepted", Taxon 54 (1): 5–8, doi:10.2307/25065296 .


I agree that the source is reliable as to Metatherian divergence, but as I noted in the edit summary, this is not the way it's done in 99% of current taxoboxes. I wouldn't have a problem using inferred range based on divergence time or molecular clock evidence rather than fossil evidence, but this would require a change to so many taxoboxes it should be discussed first. MMartyniuk (talk) 17:19, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

Loved your edit summary[edit]

on Marsupial! It is depressingly frequent to see authors' names omitted, only the first author listed, journalists citing only an institution rather than people, and worse yet a for-profit publisher being emphasized over the people who did the work. Seeing your edit was cheering. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 14:52, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

There really ought to be a guideline or something. Peter Brown (talk) 02:05, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
Yes, there seems to be nothing beyond "typically includes". I've no experience with proposing guidelines, and rather despair of being able to negotiate such a fraught process. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 16:53, 9 May 2013 (UTC)

edits to Cladistics page[edit]

You deleted my edits to the cladistic pages, suggesting that they gave too much credit to Steve Farris. I see that you are not a systematist, and I wonder just how you justify your editorial choices, given that the section called for greater detail, which I provided. Are you suggesting that the historical information I provided is not true? - Andy Brower — Preceding unsigned comment added by Abrower (talkcontribs) 13:00, 20 May 2013 (UTC)

Issues of neutrality are appropriately dealt with on the article talk page, not on a user talk page. Failing that, they go to WP:NPOVN. I have copied your concern to Talk:Cladistics#Neutrality issue, changing second person constructions to third person. Let us see what the community has to say. Peter Brown (talk) 14:50, 20 May 2013 (UTC)

A Barnstar for you![edit]

Cephalopod barnstar.png Honorary Systematist Award
Despite your modest statements on your user page, and some doubt that has been expressed by another user, I wish to state that I consider you to be an extremely competent systematist (and, lest that seem odd, I'll state that I am a systematist myself, with some publications in the area). Perhaps training in philosophy helps, but I suspect that it has more to do with taking an interest in the area combined with a lot of reading and careful thought. Best wishes. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 17:54, 20 May 2013 (UTC)

Thanks, I am honored!!! A cephalopod barnstar? Don't expect me to know much about cephalopods. They're Lophotrochsomething; Lophotrochilidae? No, the Trochilidae are birds. I don't think that cephalods are birds. . . . Peter Brown (talk) 18:20, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

Who can say, the tree of life needs more investigation ... A cephalopod reminds me of a systematist: appearing very cerebral, able to juggle several pieces of data at once, likely to squirt ink if annoyed. Sminthopsis84 (talk) 18:30, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

Obsolete taxonomic groups[edit]

Just to say that I strongly support your removal of some of the recent categorizations as "Obsolete taxonomic groups". I'm not even sure about this category, as it seems to me that using it often violates WP:NPOV: in the text we can discuss whether and why a given taxonomic group is currently considered incorrect, but categorization is all or none. Peter coxhead (talk) 10:28, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

Suggestion Concerning "History of the Earth"[edit]

With your edit here, perhaps it could be clarified by referring to the mammals as the "dominant terrestrial vertebrate" (group)?--Mr Fink (talk) 23:15, 25 May 2013 (UTC)

Dominance (ecology) provides two meanings for "dominance" in a ecosystem:
  • The taxon is more numerous than its competitors, or
  • It makes up more of the biomass.
Among terrestrial vertebrates, it is not clear that mammals are dominant in the first sense, since they may be outnumbered by the birds. A source would be required, at the least. Mammals are probably dominant in the second sense, but the use of ambiguous terms does not contribute to clarity. Peter Brown (talk) 23:35, 25 May 2013 (UTC)
Good point. A peculiar dilemma.--Mr Fink (talk) 23:58, 25 May 2013 (UTC)

"Sg is the country code for Singapore."[edit]

You're right, they could be very easily confused. — Lfdder (talk) 13:57, 7 June 2013 (UTC)

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extinct dino species -- Repiles article[edit]

Hi Peter, I'd thought we'd agreed that while all dinosaur species, without exception, are extinct, some of those particular species did not (as species) "die out", which is a lay term that I think most people will recognize as meaning extinction-by-death and won't interpret as extinction-by-evolution-[of-some-lineages-within-the-species]-into-living-descendant-species(which we know is sometimes termed "pseuto-extinction" though we're avoiding this term)

Maybe "wiped out" is clearer than "died out"? I assume you wouldn't say: "All dinosaur species were wiped out." Therefore we can say the dinosaur species were wiped out except {insert specification of those species whom we aren't claiming were wiped out}. I wasn't going to use the term "wiped out" simply because it starts to allude (a little too early i think) to the causes of a die-out, e.g. mass extinction events that did the "wiping".DavRosen (talk) 17:10, 28 June 2013 (UTC)

I think "wiped out" should be avoided; it suggests that there was a wiper, a big environmental change, a new competitor, or whatever. I'm quite willing to say that the multituberculates were wiped out by the rodents. We agree on rejecting "died out", though perhaps not for the same reason. As applied to species, I think "extinct" is as neutral as we're going to get—it just means that no members are around anymore. I do think that my proposed parenthetical expression makes immediately clear that "extinct", in context, allows extant descendants. When we deal with supraspecific taxa, things do get fuzzier. Peter Brown (talk) 19:04, 28 June 2013 (UTC)

June 2013[edit]

Hello, I'm BracketBot. I have automatically detected that your edit to Therapsida may have broken the syntax by modifying 2 "{}"s. If you have, don't worry, just edit the page again to fix it. If I misunderstood what happened, or if you have any questions, you can leave a message on my operator's talk page.

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  • early—Permian—therapsids. Cynodonts themselves don't appear until the late Permian.}} Does anyone?}} The earliest fossil attributed to Therapsida is ''[[Tetraceratops insignis]]'' from the [[Lower

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Hi. Just to get sure we are on the same page. I changed ndash with minus in DEFAULTSORT per WP:SORTKEY. All ndashes should be replaced with minus in sortkeys. Happy editing! -- Magioladitis (talk) 17:55, 29 June 2013 (UTC)

I believe that I follow the MOS rules on hyphens and dashes. Should I have done something different? I have no idea what sortkeys and categories are; neither WP:CATEGORY nor Help:Category provides a definition. Despite this gap in my knowledge, I have been editing Wikipedia with no trouble for 2½ years; may I simply continue? Peter Brown (talk) 18:59, 29 June 2013 (UTC)
You are doing fine. This edit of your was great apart from line 482. Inside DEFAULTSORT we should use minus instead of ndash. -- Magioladitis (talk) 19:06, 29 June 2013 (UTC)

Crown groups[edit]

Once again, you have deleted my edits with minimal, cryptic explanation. The page as it now stands states, "the crown group of a collection of species consists of the living representatives of the collection together with their ancestors back to their last common ancestor as well as all of that ancestor's descendants. It is thus a clade, a group consisting of a species and all its descendants."

OK, so the edit you deleted said, "In phylogenetics, the crown group of a collection of species consists of the living representatives of the collection together with their ancestors back to their last common ancestor as well as all of that ancestor's descendants. It is thus a synonym for "clade." The term is mainly used by paleontologists who wish to distinguish such groups from related extinct paraphyletic assemblages.

As far as I am aware, "all of (an) ancestor's descendants" is the definition of a clade. Thus, synonyms.

In your justification for this change, you said, "Clade and crown group are not synonyms. Dimetrodon was in the clade synapsida but not in crown synapsida"

That example means precisely nothing: discussing the membership of particular taxa does not bear on the general meaning of the term. Both are clades, one is a less inclusive clade than the other. The crown clade of archosaurs includes Dimetrodon. All clades but the clade "life" are included inside other clades, and all of these clades include some extinct members.

If you think that the meanings of "clade" and "crown group" are different, then I encourage you to come up with a definition that clearly explains the difference. It is not productive to simply delete the contributions of others.

The only difference I can think of off the top of my head is that crown groups seem to always have extant taxa in them, while some clades consist of only extinct taxa. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Abrower (talkcontribs) 22:32, 14 July 2013 (UTC)

best wishes,

Andy Brower — Preceding unsigned comment added by Abrower (talkcontribs) 22:21, 14 July 2013 (UTC)

Sorry if you found my explanation cryptic. I do try to be clear. All crown groups are clades but not all clades are crown groups, so the two are not synonyms. Synapsida, for example, is a clade but not a crown group, as I show in the following.
Both "clade" and "crown group" are defined many places in Wikipedia.
  • According to the definition in the Crown group article, which you quoted,
"the crown group of a collection of species consists of the living representatives of the collection together with their ancestors back to their last common ancestor as well as all of that ancestor's descendants."
There is no collection of species whose crown group under this definition is Synapsida. If the living representatives of the collection consist entirely of mammals, the last common ancestor lived in the Mesozoic or Cenozoic, so no descendant lived in the Permian; as Dimetrodon was a Permian synapsid, the crown group of the chosen collection is not Synapsida. On the other hand, if the collection contains a living nonmammal, that animal will not be a synapsid (all living synapsids are mammals) so, again, the collection's crown group will not be Synapsida. Either way, Synapsida is not the crown group of any collection of species.
  • According to the Clade article,
"a clade is a group consisting of an ancestor and all its descendants."
Synapsida consists of the earliest amniote with extant descendants that was not an ancestor of any birds together with all of that amniote's descendants. Synapsida, therefore, is a clade.
I certainly agree that, aside from reverting vandalism, "It is not productive to simply delete the contributions of others." An account needs to be provided. Often, as in this case, I supply it in the edit summary. I am sorry that it was not clear enough.
Peter Brown (talk) 23:50, 14 July 2013 (UTC)

Hi Peter,

Thanks for the more complete explanation. I was mistaken in synonymizing the terms. I have been doing some reading on some of the foundation books and articles - Ax 1987, Jefferies 1979, Meier and Richter 1991 - and I think I have a better understanding of this now. I am still not completely clear on the meaning of plesion. Patterson and Rosen seemed to be mainly concerned with classifications rather than defining it in terms of a tree.


Andy BrowerAbrower (talk) 12:14, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

"monophyletic with respect to"[edit]

Actually, if you do a Google search you'll find plenty of uses of this exact phrase in scientific publications. Whether they all mean the same, and if so, precisely what they mean is another question! Maybe this is yet another example of biologist's imprecision of language, which we've met before. It certainly shouldn't be in the article without a sourced explanation. Peter coxhead (talk) 16:43, 17 July 2013 (UTC)w

History of evolution article[edit]

In regards to the addition of Charles Darwin to the Human section on this article - Would you reccomend moving the Charles Darwin information to the introductory paragraph of this article, since he and Wallance had such a huge impact on this topic?

See my comment in Talk:Evolutionary history of life#Recent edits in the Humans section. Peter Brown (talk) 15:11, 21 October 2013 (UTC)

Books and Bytes: The Wikipedia Library Newsletter[edit]

Books and Bytes

Volume 1, Issue 1, October 2013

Eurasian Eagle-Owl Maurice van Bruggen.JPG

by The Interior (talk · contribs), Ocaasi (talk · contribs)

Greetings Wikipedia Library members! Welcome to the inaugural edition of Books and Bytes, TWL’s monthly newsletter. We're sending you the first edition of this opt-in newsletter, because you signed up, or applied for a free research account: HighBeam, Credo, Questia, JSTOR, or Cochrane. To receive future updates of Books and Bytes, please add your name to the subscriber's list. There's lots of news this month for the Wikipedia Library, including new accounts, upcoming events, and new ways to get involved...

New positions: Sign up to be a Wikipedia Visiting Scholar, or a Volunteer Wikipedia Librarian

Wikipedia Loves Libraries: Off to a roaring start this fall in the United States: 29 events are planned or have been hosted.

New subscription donations: Cochrane round 2; HighBeam round 8; Questia round 4... Can we partner with NY Times and Lexis-Nexis??

New ideas: OCLC innovations in the works; VisualEditor Reference Dialog Workshop; a photo contest idea emerges

News from the library world: Wikipedian joins the National Archives full time; the Getty Museum releases 4,500 images; CERN goes CC-BY

Announcing WikiProject Open: WikiProject Open kicked off in October, with several brainstorming and co-working sessions

New ways to get involved: Visiting scholar requirements; subject guides; room for library expansion and exploration

Read the full newsletter

Thanks for reading! All future newsletters will be opt-in only. Have an item for the next issue? Leave a note for the editor on the Suggestions page. --The Interior 22:01, 27 October 2013 (UTC)

December 2013[edit]

Hello, I'm BracketBot. I have automatically detected that your edit to Eutheria may have broken the syntax by modifying 1 "()"s. If you have, don't worry: just edit the page again to fix it. If I misunderstood what happened, or if you have any questions, you can leave a message on my operator's talk page.

List of unpaired brackets remaining on the page:
  • Jurassic]] or [[Early Cretaceous]]. The other is the [[Metatheria]], which includes [[marsupial]]s (most of whom accommodate their neonates in pouches. Except for the [[opossum]], which is a

Thanks, BracketBot (talk) 18:21, 8 December 2013 (UTC)

The Wikipedia Library Survey[edit]

As a subscriber to one of The Wikipedia Library's programs, we'd like to hear your thoughts about future donations and project activities in this brief survey. Thanks and cheers, Ocaasi t | c 15:59, 9 December 2013 (UTC)

Fred Dretske photo[edit]

Hello – The photo source for File:Fred Dretske.jpg was, according to its summary, sent to you personally; do you know when the photo was taken? (2012?) If so, please add to the summary and also add a caption such as "Dretske in [month] [year]" or "Dretske in [year]" to the infobox in the Fred Dretske article. Regards, (talk) 06:58, 19 April 2015 (UTC)