Cladistics and "Eclecticism"

Thomas Pape thomas.pape at NRM.SE
Tue Feb 5 16:33:18 CST 2002

Again, it is a matter of names - i.e., finding the best means of communicating about real patterns in the real world:

> 2. If a group of people (say, a mixed group of 100 men, women and children)
> embarked on a plane which later crashed into a high mountain in the Andes
> (alas, no survivors) - would the situation to us survivors on the ground
> (and in other planes) be different in any way from the situation we would
> have had in the first case?

Note that P.Hovenkamp already uses 'NAMES' for his two different units:

"a group of people .... embarked on a plane" versus an entirely different group: "us survivors on the ground (and in other planes)".

To communicate about these groups - and their indeed very different evolutionary histories - it is necessary to use some kind of name. Given good arguments for extensive discussions relating to these two groups, I'm convinced that we would soon find more easy-to-use names for these two units. If the plane had taken off to Mars and established an independent unit,  "us survivors on the ground" would not change much, but it would nevertheless be necessary to refer to "us". Alas, the plane crashed, and we NEED not make that reference. As T.DiBenedetto already pointed out: "we demarcate groups (species) relative to other groups".

Thomas Pape - Naturhistoriska riksmuseet

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