Paraphyly and names

Pierre Deleporte Pierre.Deleporte at UNIV-RENNES1.FR
Mon Jan 21 17:03:32 CST 2002

At 17:51 18/01/2002 -0600, Ken Kinman wrote:
>     What I would like to know is what phylogenetic information a strictly
>cladistic classification has that my Kinman System classifications don't?
>     The only difference is that my classifications not only store the
>cladistic information, but also eclectic information as well.
>     Therefore my classifications have at least as much predictive power (if
>not more), and it doesn't have all those drawbacks.  What more could you ask
>         --- Puzzled,
>                 Ken Kinman

I think that your classification is TWO classifications indeed: strictly 
cladistic by codes, eclectic by names. Maybe some people would be more at 
ease with the reverse combination: stricly cladistic by names, and 
indicating some "grades" by codes / other names. It's a juxtaposition of 
two systems anyway.

Also, I don't think that a classification is predictive in itself. Models 
applied on a phylogeny, and extrapolated from this, may be predictive. But 
not a classification per se, and not even a phylogeny in itself. There is 
no way to predict the unknown state of a character in a terminal taxon, 
unless you apply some evolutionary model (of phylogenetic inertia for 
example, according to which the character will likely not change relatively 
to the inferred immediate ancestral state).
Thus I think that prediction should not be attributed to classification, be 
it phylogenetic, but to evolutionary models. By definition.

>P.S.  And all that stuff I typed about paraphyly being as real as (if not
>more real than) Hennig's cladistic conventions----  I swear that must have
>gone through one ear and out the other of more strict cladists than I care
>to admit. Unbelievable.

Hennig's cladistic convention works pretty fine AFTER well-marked species 
divergence, and for classifying separate terminal taxa, not describing 
anagenesis. Let's use a tool for the goal it deserves.

Besides this, I don't think there is either a "natural" or a "real" 
classification. A paraphyletic or monophyletic group in a classification 
are what we decided to constitute as groups (and possibly names) under some 
criterion. Human beings class, but neither "nature", nor "reality". As far 
as I understand it.

best and cheers,
(incertae sedis "cladist",
possibly possessing some odd chunks of brain between two ears anyway,
but there's no offense, Ken   :-) :-) :-)

>Pierre Deleporte

CNRS UMR 6552 - Station Biologique de Paimpont
F-35380 Paimpont   FRANCE
Téléphone : 02 99 61 81 66
Télécopie : 02 99 61 81 88

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