Hennig XVIII

Carmine Colacino colacino at SOCRATES.BERKELEY.EDU
Wed May 12 18:22:10 CDT 1999

> On Wed, 12 May 1999 07:09:53 -0400, John Grehan wrote:
>>>In 1999, the Willi Hennig Society will meet for the first time in
>>>where the founder of cladistics, or phylogenetic systematics, Willi
>>>was born in 1913.
>>Is this not a bit of an innacuracy? Perhaps the title of "founder"
>>would better apply to D. Rosa?
> I think that it is usual to accord the title of "founder" to the person
> whose work forms the foundation of the field in question, not
> necessarily to someone who may have had a similar idea at an earlier
> time. Whatever its merits or similarity to Hennig's work, Rosa's work
> did not find widespread acceptance, nor do his formulations lie at the
> core of most (any?) cladists view of their science.
I do not think this is fair. Does it means I can take somebody's else ideas
(which, for some reasons -- the times were not ripe for it, the existent
paradigm did not allow their consideration, etc. -- did not have wide
distribution or acceptance), re-state them, and become a founder of
Of course, I am not saying Hennig took knowingly Rosa's ideas (because I do
not know).

We have many examples in science pointing instead to grant priority to those
who actually had the idea first. Consider the "rediscovery" of Mendel's
results, for instance, at the beginning of this Century, nobody thought to
make Correns, de Vries and others who arrived to conclusions similar to
Mendel's as the "fathers" of Mendelism/Genetic.
I do not see any reasons why Rosa's contributions shouldn't be recognized in
the same way, *now that we know about them*, for what they are worth.

Dr. Carmine Colacino
Herbarium Lucanum & Dept. of Biology
University of Basilicata
85100 Potenza, southern Italy
Tel. ++39/097-120-2172; Fax ++39/097-120-2256
e-mail: colacino at unibas.it
url: http://www.unibas.it/utenti/colacino/mediterraneo.html

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