Emptiness/PR

Hugh D. Wilson WILSON at BIO.TAMU.EDU
Thu Jul 27 12:11:53 CDT 1995


Warren Lamboy asks if others share his concern about the current preoccupation
with 'phylogentic reconstruction' and its impact on the course of
systematics.  I have been around long enough to watch several
'trends' impact the culture of plant systematics.  Some, like the
'numerical' wave of the 70s, left a useful residue - as reflected by
PCA plots and phenograms in modern papers - and others, such as
flavonoid analysis were not carried forward, at least in the
mainstream.

Seems to me that progress in this realm is darwinian and, given time,
the wheat should separate from the chaff.  However,  it
certainly seems - to me at least - that the current bandwagon has
unique features that might place it beyond the 'trend' category.  If so,
there is cause for concern.  The work of individuals like Cronquist
and Thorne currently provide a complex foundation for current
exploration.  One wonders, given the current molecular/cladistic
'trend', if the discipline will be able to produce those with a broad
perspective and thereby further develop from this foundation.

Hugh D. Wilson
Texas A&M University - Biology
h-wilson at tamu.edu (409-845-3354)
http://www.isc.tamu.edu/~hugh/homepage.html




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