semi-paraphyletic taxa: a new paradigm?

Curtis Clark jcclark at CSUPOMONA.EDU
Wed Jan 6 10:51:21 CST 1999

At 03:48 PM 1/6/99 -0300, Doug Yanega wrote:
> Unlike Curtis, I
>don't think that future generations are going to do anything any
>differently without some compelling reason - and I haven't heard any
>compelling reasons yet.

Actually, I agree with the first part, I just think that eventually it will
be compelling. I actually agree, too, with much of what you say, but the
useful part of the current system isn't ranking in the original sense of an
absolute scale of species => kingdom, but rather that it conveys between
any two groups whether or not one is contained in the other. If we had a
clean system to do that, we could dispense with rank right now.

I agree that enforcing coordinate ranks is an unnecessary purism, but when
I see people comparing the number of families in two different communities
or geological epochs, I wonder if we aren't being misleading to
non-systematists (or at the very least not doing an adequate job of
educating them).

Curtis Clark                  http//
Biological Sciences Department             Voice (909) 869-4062
California State Polytechnic University      FAX (909) 869-4078
Pomona CA 91768-4032  USA                 jcclark at

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