Raven and Axelrod's paper

John Grehan jrg13 at PSU.EDU
Wed May 3 10:21:47 CDT 2000


>Have you seen Raven and Axelrod's tome in Ann. Rev. Miss. Botanical
>Gardens (I think '78). I'll try hunting more. Interesting stuff. Peter
>Ashton has spoken of the Laurasian elements intermixing with Gonwanic
>ones. Also Axelrod has touched this - in what I can't remember..
>I would be curious to see your replies.
>Best regards,
>Allan Shanfield

The paper by Raven and Axelrod (1974) open with the claim that plate
tectonic theory requires that "we" recognize certain new principles of
biogeography, but the paper is simply conventional centers of
origin/dispersal biogeography latched ad hoc onto a new geological setting.
The authors admit this in stating that they attempt to interpret flowering
plant distributions in the light of newly available geological evidence. In
this context the centers of origin/dipsersal biogeography is devoid of
empirical content and reduced biogeography to a non-science since the
interpretations are dependant
soley on the historical theories (narratives) proposed by geologists. Their
paper is "interesting"
as an example of biogeographers reducing biogeography to a non-science (as
a series of biological narratives resting on geological narratives), but it
consequently has nothing to offer in the way of a biogeographic insight
into the past.

John Grehan




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