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Taxonomy of Disarticulated Fossils

Stefan Bengtson
Journal of Paleontology
Vol. 59, No. 6 (Nov., 1985), pp. 1350-1358
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1304949
Page Count: 9
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Taxonomy of Disarticulated Fossils
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Abstract

The taxonomy of organisms represented by separately fossilized parts has become unnecessarily confused because principles of biological taxonomy have not been strictly applied. Three non-identical concepts, commonly treated as identical, need to be clearly distinguished: 1) Form classification ("form taxonomy")--classification of morphological categories; 2) part-based taxonomy--taxonomy based on only parts of organisms that are also known from other parts or more complete specimens; and 3) parataxonomy--taxonomy covering the same segments of nature as a similarly constructed orthotaxonomy from which it is kept separate. The term sciotaxon is introduced to replace "parataxon" where the latter has been incorrectly applied to possibly identical taxa within the orthotaxonomic system. If the problems of taxonomic interpretation of disarticulated fossils are clearly formulated in terms of sciotaxa within the orthotaxonomic system, the need for parataxa (and, consequently, paranomenclature) is likely to disappear. Practical recommendations are given for the orthotaxonomic treatment of fossil multisclerite-bearing animals. The term scleritome is introduced for the total set of sclerites in an organism.

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