paraphyly

Robin Panza panzar at CLPGH.ORG
Thu Jun 12 12:38:16 CDT 1997


>I know that not everybody is a cladist, and therefore for them paraphyly
>does not exist.  But if you do adhere to cladistic principles, why does
>paraphyly still exist?  I can understand the need for taxonomic stability,

I think part of the reason is that not everybody is a cladist.  For example,
many people consider birds a paraphyletic group to dinosaurs, but there are
still significant problems with the evidence and so there are many others who
do not accept the above declaration.  Cladists can never fully resolve all
paraphyletic (or purportedly paraphyletic) situations while there are still so
many non-cladists who do not accept the cladists' results.  There is enough
resistance to, say, deleting class Aves and making birds reptiles that it
hasn't been successfully done.

While my example was from a higher taxon level, the point I'm making is not
that of taxonomic stability and it applies equally well to generic-level
situations.

Robin K Panza                   panzar at clpgh.org
Section of Birds, Carnegie MNH
Pittsburgh  PA  15213  USA




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