Species concepts, etc

Dave Chesmore E.D.Chesmore at E-ENG.HULL.AC.UK
Mon Oct 27 11:58:58 CST 1997

Many thanks to all the people who have kindly responded to my
question about objective comparisons between different analysis

I am not really surprised that there is a lack of concensus.  As an
engineer, this is somewhat an anathema but that seems to be the way
of biology (or biologists).

My response to Roger Hyam's posting about using computers to
classify is that the computer is being used as an analysis TOOL and
not a stand-alone system for unaided classification.  There is a
distinction between classification and identification (at least in
taxonomy) in that the latter makes use of expert knowledge to carry
out identification to species or preliminary identification to higher
taxonomic units; this expert knowledge is derived from taxonomists'

To give a specific example, I am working on automated identification
of insects and birds by their acoustic signals.  Such a system could
carry out unattended surveying by listening and identifying BUT it
only uses existing knowledge and does not perform classification
(although in computing, mathematics and engineering classification
means identification!).

Computer-aided taxonomy is just that - AIDED and should be seen to
be the development of tools and NOT replacements for taxonomists.

Dr David Chesmore, FRES
Control & Intelligent Systems Engineering Group
Dept. of Electronic Engineering
University of Hull, Hull, HU6 7RX
Tel: +482 465062;  Fax: +482 466664
Email:  E.D.Chesmore at E-Eng.Hull.AC.UK
Web page: http://www.hull.ac.uk/php/eepmds/home.htm

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