Kinman System "Example"

Ken Kinman kinman at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Feb 1 11:44:00 CST 2000

    Following up on what Pierre said, here is an example from my 1994 book.
The alpha-numeric code to the left of the taxa simply incorporates the
branching information (obviating the need of a separate cladogram for most
classifications).  For more clarity one could even draw in a simplified
cladogram along the left side of the code to explicitly show the branching.
     Although Phylum Bryophyta is paraphyletic in the traditional sense, it
is here rendered "informationally" holophyletic with the {{Pteridophyta}}
marker, which show that Class Bryopsidea is sister group to Tracheophyta
(i.e. Phylum Pteridophyta, plus descendants Pinophyta and Magnoliophyta).
     The following example just shows the coding and taxon names
(information on the taxa is omitted for clarity):
                 PHYLUM BRYOPHYTA
1  Anthocerotopsidea
2  Hepaticopsidea
      1  Takakiales
      2  Calobryales
      3  Jungermanniales
      4  Metzgeriales
      5  Monocleales
      6  Sphaerocarpales
      7  Marchantiales
3  Bryopsidea
      1  Sphagnales
      2  Andreaeales
      3  Tetraphidales
      B  Polytrichales
      4  Archidales
      5  Funariales
      6  Bryales
      7  Dicranales
4  {{Pteridophyta}} (thence to Pinophyta and
          Magnoliophyta) (= Tracheophyta)
      This is a relative simple example, so only one subsidiary (lettered)
code was needed (to show Tetraphidales and Polytrichales are sisters).  No
paraphyletic coding (underlined symbols) was needed at this level.
      However, let's assume we discover new information that shows
Bryopsidea is not sister to Tracheophyta (Pteridophyta and descendants), but
that Tracheophyta is actually sister group to Order Andreaeales (thus making
Bryopsidea paraphyletic.
     In that case, the 4 would be changed to an underlined a (_a_), and we
would place the same marker at ordinal level as well (hypothetical example):
  3  Bryopsidea
       1  Sphagnales
       2  Andreaeales
       B  {{Pteridophyta}} (thence to Pinophyta
             and Magnoliophyta) (= Tracheophyta)
       3  Tetraphidales
       B  Polytrichales
       4  Archidales
       5  Funariales
       6  Bryales
       7  Dicranales
_a_ {{Pteridophyta}} (thence to Pinophyta
            and Magnoliophyta) (= Tracheophyta)
    Such a change in knowledge would make a mess of a purely cladistic
classification, but the Kinman System does not require any new names or
categories in such a case (or the abandonment of any formal names now deemed
     This is the kind of classification everyone could find useful (cladists
and eclecticists), and all the non-taxonomists can ignore the coding if they
want, and enjoy a relatively stable classification, without all those
intermediate categories and names cluttering up the classification.  More
information is stored in such a classification, and yet it is also more
stable, since much information is stored in the code rather than in formal
names.  Intermediate names can still be used informally.
     Whether strict cladists realize it yet or not, they need such a system
as new information continues to accumulate.  Otherwise they risk an
increasing backlash from traditional eclecticists and non-taxonomists, who
are tired of complex and unstable hierarchies, and the multiplicity of names
and categories.  It is only going to get worse if we cling to either
traditional cladistic or traditional eclectic classifications.
                     ------Ken Kinman
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