Paraphyly=mistakes? (There's the rub)

Ken Kinman kinman at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Jan 8 16:13:56 CST 2002

      The phrase "koala bear" is a common name, and we are discussing formal
(Latin) nomenclature.  However, if someone tries to classify the koala bear
in the genus _Ursus_ or Order Carnivora, then I assure you that I would be
the first to vociferously object.

      I agree with your observations.  But the problem with traditional
eclectic classifications is that they still often do not make it clear
whether taxa are paraphyletic or not.  Strict cladism's remedy (declare them
"mistakes" and destroy all of them) is obviously too extreme.
      The kind of {{markers}} I use clearly store such exgroup information,
and Michael Benton used a similar kind of marker in his book "Vertebrate
Palaeontology" (1997).  And if you add optional coding as well, you can show
the precise cladistic relationships of the exgroup (so that absolutely no
sister group information is lost in the process).  Coding can be optional,
but we must always use exgroup markers if we want to convince strict
cladists that we are serious about reforming eclecticism so that it meets
everyone's needs.  Otherwise, a cladisto-eclectic system will never be
          --- Cheers,  Ken
>From: David Orlovich <David.Orlovich at BOTANY.OTAGO.AC.NZ>
>Reply-To: David Orlovich <David.Orlovich at BOTANY.OTAGO.AC.NZ>
>Subject: Re: Paraphyly=mistakes? (There's the rub)
>Date: Wed, 9 Jan 2002 09:33:32 +1300
>on 9/1/02 8:57 AM, Dr. James Adams at jadams at EM.DALTONSTATE.EDU wrote:
>... if the person using a specific grouping *knows* that
> > grouping is paraphyletic, and, under appropriate circumstances, passes
> > information along to the audience, there shouldn't really be any
> > problem.  If some want to call this a mistake, that's their choice.
>Does that also mean then that saying "koala bear" is acceptable even though
>koalas are not bears but marsupials?
>David Orlovich.

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