Cyperales or Juncales?

Tom DiBenedetto tdib at OCEANCONSERVANCY.ORG
Mon Jul 8 16:38:02 CDT 2002

Jim Croft wrote:

> .  We can *know* a specimen has a character or
> combination of characters, we can know a specimen came for a certain place
> at a certain time, but we can only *believe* that a bunch of specimens is
> of the same species with a certain combination of characters, that a
> species has a certain occurrence and distribution, that species have
> certain phylogenetic and other relationships to each other

I disagree. "Knowing" that a specimen has a character requires an inference of the
same kind as one makes when putting forth a phylogenetic hypothesis. To say that I
(the specimen) have brown stuff growing out of my head might qualify as the
"knowledge" you seem to describing. But to say that I have _hair_ growing out of my
head implies that the brown stuff is the same thing (is homologous to) the stuff that
we call hair - the stuff that other mammals have growing on them. That is an
inference, one that lies at the heart of the phylogenetic enterprise - namely the
constuction of hypotheses of homology.

Tom diBenedetto

More information about the Taxacom mailing list