opinion of taxonomy (was peer review)

Barry M. OConnor bmoc at UMICH.EDU
Fri Feb 20 12:46:28 CST 1998

At 12:31 PM 2/20/98, Tom DiBenedetto wrote:
 How do any of these say
>anything differnt from any other? Discovering relationships (2) is the
>basis for naming (1) and classifying (1,3). Isnt this
>one broad area with three names?

Yes - but then the SA2K report was written for the masses.  My response was
directed toward the thread which was attempting to separate these things
and argue that some of these parts were "horrible" or "mere"!
        Can you do any of these things without doing the others?  Yes, as
has been done for hundreds of years.  One can name taxa without worrying
about relationships (e.g. Linnaeus), or classifying (e.g. any "n.sp."
paper).  Likewise, one can do phylogenetic analysis without naming or
classifying (e.g. all those papers presenting cladograms based on 18s or
eyeball muscles), and one can classify without naming or analyzing as did
so many 19th century compilers.  But I do agree that if we're going to
define "Systematics", it has to include all three tasks.

Barry M. OConnor                phone: (734) 763-4354
Museum of Zoology               FAX: (734) 763-4080
University of Michigan          e-mail: bmoc at umich.edu
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1079  USA

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