Binomial elimination (sigh)

Marco_Bleeker mbleeker at EURONET.NL
Sun Mar 19 00:34:30 CST 1995

>But there would still be *names* (words, not numbers) to use to refer to
>(monophyletic) groups of species.  They just wouldn't be "genus" names,
>and this first "level" of group membership would not be embedded into
>the name of every species.  It the embedding of these levels or "ranks"
>into species names that makes Linnaean taxonomy objectionable, not the
>fact that two names are used...

  I don't find it objectionable. I think it is a very logical attempt to try
to handle biodiversity. You talk about names for monophyletic groups. But of
how many species do we know for sure to what natural group they belong ?
Won't we get the same discussions as with genus names ?  Still, wether we
-scientificaly- know or not, we still have to put a species in A group. We
do that in our minds, we have no other way to make things comprehensable. So
why not reflect this in a name ?

  And why should names never change ?  Perhaps they change a bit to often,
and we should look at that - change some rules. But to throw the whole
system out sounds ludicrous to me. Perhaps this taxonomical system is not
fit to accurately describe the biodiversity as we are now discovering it.
OK, let's computerise then, and use codenumbers for species (and groups of
species). But still, we are human beings, we want to reason, with ourselves
and with other human beings, not only with computers. And in that respect,
the good old international Latin works fine. I can talk about a Willow, and
see a certain tree in my mind, and someone on another continent may perhaps
see a slightly different tree, but we can still exchange usefull
information. To use the word Salix intead of Willow, only affirms the fact
that we are talking about the same 'thing'. When some scientist suddenly
claims that a certain species is not a Salix, and groups it into a different
genus - that's a GOOD thing, because that's what makes the word Salix more
exact then the word Willow...

  bye, Marco
<mbleeker at>...........Plants, Programs and Primitive creatures
<Marco Bleeker>.......................................Amsterdam, Holland

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