Barry Roth barryr at UCMP1.BERKELEY.EDU
Tue Nov 9 17:15:11 CST 1993

John McNeill's helpful addendum points up an area in which my prior
post may have been unclear.  Intelligent discourse in systematics must
keep the distinction between physical similarity (observable, objec-
tive) and genealogic relationship (inferential, interpretive).  Like
many other of our inherited conventions in systematic biology, the
customary usage of "aff." does not do this.  It comes from a time when
physical similarity was accepted as a reasonable proxy for phylogenetic
relationship.  The translations from _Botanical Latin_ (Stearn) betray
this ellipsis too ("bordering" -- i.e., in morphology -- equals "akin
to"), if not, indeed, a kind of procumbent Scala Naturae with the
closest relatives next in line ...

Barry Roth

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