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Insectivora Wastebasket Taxon #385

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opentreeapi opened this Issue Apr 13, 2018 · 2 comments

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opentreeapi commented Apr 13, 2018

I remember reading in different places that Insectivora was a wastebasket taxon and the animals in that section were moved to different categories. Unfortunately I don't remember where I read that from. Is it possible to update the synthetic tree so Insectivora is removed and the families relocated?

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Metadata | Do not edit below this line
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Author | Danielle Wilson
Upvotes | 0
URL | /contact
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Source tree id(s) |
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Supporting reference | None

@jar398

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jar398 commented Apr 13, 2018

Agreed. I think this has been discussed before. (Previously reported as #375.) But we can’t include any information without some kind of reference. Any chance you could find us a good modern taxonomic treatment in this area? NCBI claims that its Insectivora has Soricomorpha as a synonym (the name that CoL uses). It’s possible that NCBI has redefined the name to fit some improved hypothesis of monophyly. But it's also possible neither NCBI and CoL is up to date.

Understanding the situation is more work than I can do now, so any help would be welcome.

@mtholder

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mtholder commented Apr 13, 2018

note that we have the Afrotherian mammals with common names including "shrews" and "moles" in Afrotheria (see https://tree.opentreeoflife.org/taxonomy/browse?id=746703) not in Insectivora (see https://tree.opentreeoflife.org/taxonomy/browse?id=796664 ). So the most egregious cases of Insectivora being a wastebasket are correctly dealt with. There may be some issues remaining, but I'm not aware of them.

There is the question of whether we should call the group "Insectivora" or "Eulipotyphla." I personally wouldn't mind using Eulipotyphla, because it conveys the fact that we aren't using the "old" definition of Insectivora. But NCBI uses Insectivora, so that is was is used in OTT. I don't really mind using "Insectivora".

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