Phylogenetic evidence

Barry Roth barry_roth at YAHOO.COM
Wed Jul 10 09:03:14 CDT 2002

They say the Devil can cite scripture for his purposes.  Let's see.  In your linked message you quote Darwin thus:

      "but that the amount of difference in the several branches or groups,
though allied in the same degree in blood to their common progenitor, may
differ greatly, being due to the different degrees of modification which
they have undergone; and this is expressed by the forms being ranked under
different genera, families, sections, or orders."  (Origins of Species,
Chapter 13)

I read this as Darwin's insight that morphology is an imprecise guide to degree of consanguinity and his recognition that the standard, ranked classification is based on "magnitude of difference" in morphology, not phylogeny.  He states that this is the case; he doesn't necessarily endorse it.  In fact, his statement is a complaint about the problem.

I therefore claim Darwin as an early proponent of unranked taxonomy.

BR (adjusting his horns)

 Ken Kinman wrote:Barry,
I wholeheartedly agree with Darwin on this, but this is only a partial
quote, and omits an extremely important qualifier (which strict cladists
often prefer to ignore).
See my post on this subject in January 2001 at the DML (dinosaur
mailing list). Here's the link:

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