limited "semi-paraphyly" vs. paraphylophobia

Fri Feb 4 11:56:28 CST 2000

Curtis Clark wrote:

> Hey, [reptiles] is still a natural group, until you take out the mammals and
> birds. Equally, a Permian eclecticist might have made it nicely
> paraphyletic by removing the thecodonts. How "numerous" must
> synapomorphies be to justify leaving behind a paraphyletic group?

>From a strictly phylogenetic viewpoint, there can be *no*
justification.  The same, of course, applies to butterflies and moths -
- butterflies left "moths" behind.   On the flip side, however, I don't
mind using the term reptile or moth.  They still carry some
meaning, and, as long as I know know they are paraphyletic
(necessary if you are a systematist), then using "moth" or "reptile"
to convey information in a popular talk to the public doesn't bother
me at all.  Though I have tried from time to time to point out that
they are listening to a hairy reptile . . .


Dr. James K. Adams
Dept. of Natural Science and Math
Dalton State College
213 N. College Drive
Dalton, GA  30720
Phone: (706)272-4427; fax: (706)272-2533
U of Michigan's President James Angell's
  Secret of Success: "Grow antennae, not horns"

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