Re: Genus names

Robert Scott (
17 Feb 1995 00:41:55 GMT

In article <> G. Hanenburg,
>The speciesname Paranthropus has historical priority over
>The name Paranthropus was first used by R.Broom in 1938 when he described
>the first specimen from the site of Kromdraai(South Africa) as belonging
>to the taxon Paranthropus robustus.

Not really. *Paranthropus* has historical priority over
*Australopithecus* only for the "robust autralopithecines" and only if
one considers the "robust australopithicines" a clade warranting
distinction ar the genus level. If one takes the view that the "robust
autralopithecines" are a paraphyletic grade, then the genus designation
*Australopithecus* (Dart, 1925) has priority. *Paranthropus* is used
generally to clarify distinctions between robust and gracile
australopithecines. This can be confusing because *A. afarensis* is oft
refered to as a "robust", although to my knowledge it is never included
in *Paranthropus*.

Similarly, finds from Java originally named *Pithecanthropus erectus*
became *Homo erectus* when it became clear that they should not be
considered distinct at the generic level from *Homo sapiens*.