October 1980
Vol. 9, Ext
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Print ISSN: 0031-0247
Online ISSN: 2274-0333
Frequency: biannual

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PalaeovertebrataVol. 9, Ext:263-272. 1980
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Problems of classification as applied to the Rodentia
Albert E. Wood

Cite this article: Wood A. E., 1980. Problems of classification as applied to the Rodentia. Palaeovertebrata 9 (ext): 263-272.


A classification should be both usable and useful,not too complex either in the amount of splitting or in the number of hierarchies involved, and not so simple as to give a false assurance of knowledge of relationships. Classifications are only possible because we do not have complete knowledge of the evolution of the organisms concerned because gaps in the record are necessary to allow the separation of the various taxa. Rodent classification is complicated by the large number of organisms involved and by the geat amount of parallelism that has taken place in the evolution of any and all features. If several independent features are characteristic of a certain taxon, should an effort be made to define the group on the basis of all the features, or should only one be selected as the determinant ? Unless the evolution of the several features was closely linked, the former solution will sooner or later lead to insurmountable problems. 

Published in Vol. 9, Ext (1980)