Fungi and Four Kingdoms

Ken Kinman kinman at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Oct 7 11:53:20 CDT 1999

     Just as evolutionists and creationists need to empathize more with each
other's beliefs, I guess the same could be said for cladists and
eclecticists concerning their "systematics" belief systems.  I certainly
agree with you that botanical "Latin" is an unnecessary pain in the neck (my
apologies to those botanists who disagree).
     However, the widespread notion among cladists that the Linnean system
cannot be modified for the efficient storage and retrieval of cladistic
(sister group) information, well they just haven't given my system a chance.
   I would hope you would try to get The Kinman System (1994) on
interlibrary loan.  Noone takes the problems of multiplying "ranks" more
seriously that I do, but I think I have found a good way to do this without
abandoning the Linnean System (I hate throwing the baby out with the
     I think you might actually like part of what I have done with the
classification of higher fungi (Eumycota), whether you regard it as phylum
or kingdom.  I used the views of a cladist (A. Tehler) and an eclecticist
(Thomas Cavalier-Smith), and used my system to meld them into a
classification that reflects both views.  It is mostly cladistic, but with a
semi-paraphyletic Class Endomycetea (hemiascomycetes).  This class is
rendered informationally holophyletic ("monophyletic") with two
cladistically-placed markers, one for the cladistic series of ascomycete
classes, and the other for the cladistic series of basidiomycete classes.
This may sound a little complicated, but it isn't once you see it, and it is
even simpler if one raises Eumycota to Kingdom level---and therefore I do
not discount the possibility that I may eventually adopt a five kingdom
classification (rather than four).
      I will look up your paper when I get a chance, so I can see what
problems you are facing in basidiomycete classification.  As for the
botanical "Latin" thing, I can only empathize and be glad that my interests
lie more with the evolution of bacteria and metazoans.  I named a new
monocot Order Acorales (in Class Liliopsidea) in my 1994 book, but not
having the room or time to mess with a Latin description, it is not
considered botanically valid.  Doesn't bother me if someone else's name is
appended to Order Acorales---it is the recognition of the taxon that is
important.  C'est la vie.
                     --------Ken Kinman
>From: Elizabeth Frieders <frieders at UWPLATT.EDU> I do admit that I am
>unfamiliar with your proposed ideas and should not have been so hasty to
>disregard them (please note that the same should apply to you). As for my
>views, they are in the development stages. If they were completely
>formulated to my own satisfaction, I would have published them already. A
>small glimpse at the direction I am headed can be read in:
>Swann, Frieders and McLaughlin. 1999. Microbotryum, Kriegeria and the
>changing paradigm in basidiomycete classification. Mycologia 91: 51-66.
>(If you do look at this article, please remember that the ranks defined in
>this paper follow the classics simply because no alternative has been
>widely accepted, so if we didn't name the clades, someone else would have.)
>My opinions:
>Classification should reflect phylogeny, as was its original intent. That
>means monophyletic groups.
>Hierarchical relationships exist in nature, but the classic ranks
>(especially those above genus) do not adequately express their levels of
>complexity. There are not a certain number of preset ranked relationships
>within each major group of organisms (whether they are called Domains or
>Kingdoms or ...), so why should there be a preset number of ranks? Yes,
>supra-this and sub-that we have been able to create additional ranks to
>accomodate the hierarchical relationships that have developed as further
>study into groups occurs, but there are (or ought to be) limits. It also
>becomes difficult to decide where the line should be drawn -- is this a
>subclass or an order? Subgenera or different genera? And does it really
>matter?  No, because we are simply giving a group a name and defining it so
>that others have a clue. As far as I am concerned, I don't care what the
>name of the clade is or if there are official nomenclatural rules as to an
>appropriate suffix, as long as the clade is clearly defined.  This also
>allows for changes or additions to clade relationships without the
>of formally changing the name of a clade.
>Defining the clade, especially in fungi, is becoming more difficult if not
>impossible with the standard morphological criteria: because either there
>are no uniform characters for all clade members (as is the case in our
>paper above) or perhaps because the taxa included within a clade is in flux
>exemplified by many groups of fungi). Therefore, in the article mentioned
>above, we have used the definition of a clade as all descendants of their
>most recent common ancestor (as per de Queiroz and Gauthier's nodal
>Clades should be validly published (= adequately defined, clearly stated in
>a widely used language, supported with evidence, and in a format that is
>accessible by most). IMO, the use of Latin is just plain ridiculous since
>few can read or write it, so why is it still required?
>I don't have all the answers. I know that after working in systematics for
>several years I have been confronted with a lot of problems for which
>solutions don't exist. I also think that continuing to use a system which
>clearly was not designed for an infinite number of ranks, or with
>in mind, may not be the answer either, modified though it may be.

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