Paraphyly: A "Real" Saga (thought experiment)

Thomas DiBenedetto tdib at OCEANCONSERVANCY.ORG
Fri Jan 18 08:10:22 CST 2002

-----Original Message-----
From: SKÁLA Zdenek
....So if you have 4 species, you will construct 3 higher taxa, for 10
species 9 taxa, for 100 species 99 taxa etc. (generally n-1 taxa where
n=number of species). I really doubt your system will come into general
I will not "construct" higher taxa, I will recognize that that is what
really exists in the real world. Isn't that the point of doing science? Yes,
there are (n-1) higher groupings for n taxa (assuming a completely
bifurcated system - which I do _not_ assume - I do believe in the
possibility of real hard polytomies). Should every one of those "nodes" be
named? No, not necessarily, unless we desire or need to make some statement
about that grouping. But even if we did name them all, so what? We currently
have a bit over a million valid species names, and we expect that there are
another 10-80 million to be named, so we are going to have to deal with
millions of new names in any case.
Tom DiBenedetto

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