Paraphyly: the continuing saga

Curtis Clark jcclark at CSUPOMONA.EDU
Wed Jan 16 18:05:54 CST 2002

At 08:42 AM 1/16/02, Thomas DiBenedetto wrote:
>I am not saying that systematists must reject non-systematic meanings of
>"species" - but perhps we need to do that when we are actually doing

First, I think that is a narrow view of systematics--I would include the
study of speciation, in which it *matters* that the "parent" species is
unaffected (in a totally different way than it "matters" whether birds are
or aren't reptiles).

Second, I think this is an argument in favor of a certain possible outcome
of Phylocode: naming of lineages at all levels, independent of what other
role they play in biology.

At 09:59 AM 1/16/02, Thomas Pape wrote:
>As systematists we try to map those changes, building the Tree of Life,
>and cladistic analysis is currently our most powerful tool. Yes, some
>'mother species' may be 'budding off' daughter species so fast that few or
>no changes occur in those replicators that by chance follow the lineage we
>call the 'mother species'. As systematists we have practical problems with
>that in that we cannot get our cladograms fully resolved.

This is just one of the reasons why it matters. The same view of
systematics that compels me to reject paraphyletic higher taxa also compels
me to accept hard polytomies, if they are real.

Curtis Clark        
Biological Sciences Department             Voice: (909) 869-4062
California State Polytechnic University      FAX: (909) 869-4078
Pomona CA 91768-4032  USA                  jcclark at

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