marc sosef Marc.Sosef at PROSEA.PT.WAU.NL
Fri Jun 13 14:42:37 CDT 1997

Dear Taxacomers,

I think I should join in on the discussion on paraphyly. I recently
published an article (Taxon 46: 75-85) on hierarchical models and the
inevitability of paraphyletic supraspecific taxa. In this article I explain
the differences between a Linnaean hierarchical model, which is used in our
present-day Linnaean system of nomenclature, and a strictly monophyletic
hierarchical model. I conclude that both models are incongruent, i.e. that
you cannot divide nature according to the monophyletic model and then apply
names following the Linnaean model. The monophyletic model needs a
different system of nomenclature. I have received many positive reactions,
and am pretty convinced that this is how we should proceed.

In the mean time Dick Brummitt (Kew Herbarium) has written several papers
on the subject as well, coming to very similar conclusions, one of which
will appear soon in Taxon as well. Similar thoughts were published earlier
by Queiroz & Gauthier, 1992 (Annual Rev. Ecol. Syst. 23: 449-480).

My advise therefore: don't try to create a purely monophyletic system of
supraspecific taxa using Linnaean nomenclature, because you may
unnecessarily deteriorate what may be a valid classification (including
monophyletic _and_ paraphyletic taxa).

Marc S.M. Sosef

Dept. of Plant Taxonomy
Wageningen Agricultural University
P.O. Box 8010
6700 ED Wageningen
The Netherlands
Phone: (31) 317 483180
fax: (31) 317 484917
e-mail: marc.sosef at

More information about the Taxacom mailing list