Fungi and Four Kingdoms

Elizabeth Frieders frieders at UWPLATT.EDU
Sun Oct 3 15:29:14 CDT 1999

>       However, your statement that Protista is polyphyletic is erroneous.
> It is clearly paraphyletic, whether you removed two groups from it (Metazoa
> and Metaphyta), or also remove a third (Eumycota).

I completely agree that Protista is paraphyletic; IMO no better than being
polyphyletic. But can you positively without a doubt state that there was
one point of origin for all eukaryotes? Phycologists should agree that there
have been multiple origins of plastids. Can we disprove a multiple origin
for nuclei or mitochondria? I doubt it. So I will qualify my previous
statment:  Protista IS paraphyletic; it probably is polyphyletic; and the
only acceptable classifications should be monophyletic ones.

>       As I stated before, I have no objection to mycologists recognizing a
> fifth Kingdom Eumycota, but whether you realize it or not, calling it
> Kingdom Fungi does create confusion, and it has ever since Whitaker proposed
> raising it to kingdom status (and being the last of the five kingdoms
> proposed, this alone indicates that it is the least qualified for kingdom
> status).

I realize that Kingdom Fungi may be confusing to some. But creating an
entirely new name will not solve the problem. Slime molds and water molds
are still going to be referred to as fungi no matter what the Kingdom is
called. When one is properly educated the confusion should end. My students
have no problem separating Fungi from fungi.

And I disagree with your statement that Fungi was the last to be recognized.
Whittaker first proposed 3 kingdoms (Plantae, Fungi, Animalia); then he
proposed 4 (Protista; Plantae, Fungi; Animalia); and finally he proposed 5
(separating Monera from Protista). Perhaps you were thinking of Copeland's 4
kingdoms in which Fungi were ignored??  And simply because something were
last to be recognized does not mean it is least qualified. Remember the old
adage -- Last but not least. But if you continue to hold to your above
statment, then we ought to disregard the Monera, because they were the last
to be recognized by Whittaker!

  I am not looking for a fight with mycologists, as I have
> enough problems dealing with Woese and his Three Domains, which is a far
> more serious matter.

I completely agree that attempting to accurately reflect the phylogeny of
life should be considered a "serious matter" -- one that should be embraced
not ignored because it goes against all that we have been taught as
"Scientific Fact"!

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