cladistics and semi-paraphyletic taxa

Ken Kinman kinman at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Jan 6 14:18:53 CST 1999


     Thank you Joseph and Doug for explaining (far
better than I was doing) various reasons that "rankless"
classification would be a mistake.  I would only add
that Curtis Clark's inference that phylogenetic
(cladistic) classifications are the only ones that are
"based on kinship" is a little misleading (or perhaps a
bit of a Freudian slip).  Eclectic classifications are
also based on kinship, but they go beyond kinship alone,
and incorporate anagenetic and other information as
well.  I believe that semi-paraphyletic groups
(utilizing Kinman markers) will economically store
needed cladistic information without all the bad
side-effects (multiplicity of names and categories,
hierarchical instability, etc.).
     I don't think we can quickly undo thirty years of
"bad-press" for paraphyletic groups (although I see no
reason for cladists to object to semi-paraphyletic
groups).  However, perhaps it would ease their minds to
know that I specifically warned eclecticists not to
overuse them:
     "Paraphyletic groups (or semi-paraphyletic groups
groups used herein) are often needed to make
classifications simpler, more useful, and anagenetically
more informative.  However, their overuse is to be
avoided and our greatest challenge is to achieve an
optimal mix for each taxon (purely cladistic for many
groups, particularly at lower taxonomic levels).  It is
the author's greatest hope that the synergistic union of
cladistic and eclectic methods will end the confusing
proliferation of names and categories.  The ultimate goal of a stable
information retrieval system would then
become more attainable, and biological research more
productive and efficient."
                           ----Kenneth Kinman

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