Forwarded: Basic taxonomy

Thomas E. Yancey tey7004 at GEOPSUN.TAMU.EDU
Mon Dec 11 10:27:34 CST 1995

Concerning the opinion piece on "Basic taxonomy" forwarded by John Shuey (in
which another person ranks species into 3 categories - 1) useful, 2) harmful,
and 3) harmless), it is striking how similar this opinion parallels the opinions
and awareness on species reported by John Steinbeck in his book "Log from the
Sea of Cortez". In that book (concerning a collecting trip into the Gulf of
California with Ed Ricketts), Steinbeck observes that for the local inhabitants
a species is noticed only if it is big, good to eat, or is dangerous, but
otherwise is largely invisible. Perhaps such narrow viewpoints are close to the
norm in ours and other societies, despite centuries of scientific study and
documentation of biotas.

Thomas E. Yancey                                            _______
Department of Geology and Geophysics                       |   |   |
Texas A&M University                                        _  |  _
College Station, TX 77843-3115                             |-| | |||
Voice: 409 845 0643    Fax: 409 845 6162
email: tyancey at
                     ---------------------                      (misquoted from)
Complex problems have simple, straightforward, wrong solutions.  (H.L. Mencken)

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