Kinman defends himself

Ken Kinman kinman at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Sep 14 07:32:52 CDT 1998

Curtis Clark wrote:
>Ironically, if I understand Kinman's web page correctly, Woese's
>three-domain scheme could fit his views quite nicely simply by
accepting a paraphyletic Eubacteria and possibly also a paraphyletic
       This is precisely how I classified bacteria in my 1994 book.  A
paraphyletic Eubacteria giving rise to a paraphyletic Metabacteria, both
within Kingdom Monera.  Nothing ironic about it.
      Although I agree with Ernst Mayr (and others) that the Three
Domain classification greatly trivializes 2 billion years of Eukaryotic
evolution, this is a somewhat minor philosophical point to me.  Even the
inappropriate and confusing choice of name (Archaebacteria, or worse yet
Archaea) for Metabacteria is also a minor problem.
    ***The main reason I object to Woese's scheme is that it continues
to lead biologists and others to believe that these domains are
holophyletic, and the cladists should be JUMPING UP AND DOWN criticizing
Woese (and those who blindly follow his lead) for using Metabacteria
("Archaea") as an outgroup to Eubacteria (when Metabacteria are actually
an ingroup to Eubacteria).  This is why Woesian eubacterial phylogenies
are so terribly misrooted and distorted.  This misrooting is why Aquifex
and Thermotoga continue to appear at the base of most eubacteria trees.
The whole eubacterial tree is a twisted, upside-down, confusing mess.
The uncritical acceptance of Woese's rooting has resulted in a great
deal of circular reasoning.  Even unrooted SSU rRNA trees appear to
support his views, but that is because there are clearly three clusters
of SSU rRNA types.  But to simplistically declare Three Domains of Life
just because there "presently" appear to be three domains of SSU rRNA's
(actually the gap between Eubacteria and Metabacteria is narrowing all
the time as data continues to flood in) is short-sighted and more
harmful than most biologists realize at the present time.
Sincerely, Ken Kinman

Get Your Private, Free Email at

More information about the Taxacom mailing list