Venal bugbears (was: Re: Paraphyly=mistakes? (There's the rub))

Barry Roth barry_roth at YAHOO.COM
Mon Jan 14 09:04:53 CST 2002

 This, below, has of course been the bugbear ("any object of dread") of phylogenetic taxonomists, including myself.  I'm sure I have referred to the same hypothetical splitter and lumper in lectures, and as an editor my antennae are up for any such "whimsy" in the manuscripts I process.
Nevertheless -- while acknowledging that we can't know the deepest motives of a publishing biologist (and what's so venal about adding to one's CV?) -- I wonder just how prevalent this sin is.  Without pointing fingers, do Taxacomers have ongoing problems with this practice in their areas of specialty?  Do instances of the practice usually occur in significant monographs (which would not be issued just to pad the author's CV in any case); or are they mainly in papers from sources that one would not treat as authoritative anyway?
In the interest of making the strongest argument for a phylogeny-based taxonomy, I'd like to be sure we are not attacking a straw person.
Barry Roth
  Richard Pyle <deepreef at BISHOPMUSEUM.ORG> wrote:
Thus, they [Linnean names] can slide up and down the
phylogenetic lineage, superceding or resurrecting other names of like-ranked
taxa, at the whim of any splitter or lumper looking to add a publication to
his or her CV -- all without a single branch change in the hypothesized

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