Classifications (angiosperms and in general)

Ken Kinman kinman at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Jul 15 02:46:45 CDT 2002

Tom and Barry,
      Due to large evolutionary "data gaps", a particular classification (in
isolation) can indeed end up being totally "phylogenetic" (i.e., no
paraphyletic groups).  My recent classification of monocots is a perfect
example, so I obviously do not think this is harmful.  However,
classifications in general cannot be totally phylogenetic in the Hennigian
monistic sense, and eventually the reality of paraphyly has to be reflected
at some point as a classification becomes more inclusive.  What IS harmful
is taking cladism to an extreme---- automatically dismantling ALL
paraphyletic groups, justifying it by declaring paraphyletic groups
"unnatural", and then having the gall to assume that traditional
eclecticists are just too lazy, stubborn, or dim-witted to give up formal
paraphyly in their classifications.
     For angiosperms, I recently chose Order Magnoliales (sensu Thorne, plus
a few additional families) as the most productive, and least disruptive,
taxon in which to establish the formal paraphyletic boundary between dicots
and monocots.  Below is my classification posted on May 23rd, which I now
combine with my completed monocot classification (the revised eudicot
phylogeny will be finished later).
      Ironically, it is a lack of information (especially fossil data) which
makes a completely phylogenetic classification of monocots (and many other
groups) possible.  There are huge gaps due to the sparseness of this group's
fossil record, so a simple monistic systematization is adequate at this time
(although I am already uneasy about the holophyly of Alismatales sensu APG).
  But if you look at the bigger picture you will see that in order to
maintain this kind of monistic simplicity, strict cladists are forced to
splinter taxa further and further (eventually to an absurd degree) when
dealing with all the new fossil evidence being discovered for many groups
(not to mention the explosion in molecular data).  This is particularly true
near the base of taxa (such as Magnoliophyta).
     That is one of the reasons I devised the Kinman System, which is a
dualistic systematization that allows limited paraphyly.  The exgroup
markers provide a simple cross-referencing convention to maintain sister
group information (which is often lost in traditional "inexplicit"
paraphyly; but see Benton's recent book Vertebrate Palaeontology).  And the
alphanumeric coding will help curb the explosive increase in formal clade
names (many of which have to be abandoned after just a few years, such as
Arctometatarsalia and Bullatosauria----just two of the recent theropod
clades that were found to be based on homoplastic characters).
     I am attempting to pull strict cladists back into a dualistic approach
to classification, but without going back to the inexplicitness of
traditional eclecticism that cladistics rebelled against in the first place.
  Why Hennig (or one of his followers) didn't come up with this kind of
system still baffles me.  Especially when Hull, 1979 (Syst. Zool., 28:437)
bemoaned the fact that "no methods have been set out thus far which permit
the inclusion of both sorts of information [genealogy and divergence] in a
single classification in such a way that both are retrievable."  That is
what I attempt to do in my own "intuitive" way, but younger workers like
Kent E. Carpenter have begun formulating mathematical models (Syst. Biol.,
42:142-154) that will eventually give us computer algorithms to optimize our
classifications.  Until then, I still rely on my intuition and past
experiences, and I continue to make small improvements in the Kinman System
to make it more user friendly (such as the % symbol which can indicate
paraphyly even in text.
     Anyway, here's how my angiosperm reclassification stands at present.
Note that I have also now added the extinct (Early Cretaceous) Family
Archaefructaceae at the base of Magnoliales (and thus at the base of all
angiosperms).  I anticipate having to add more fossil angiosperm families in
the future, but my classifications are designed to easily handle such growth
without many of the instabilities that often afflict monistic approaches.
Final comments given below.


1  Magnoliopsidea% (dicots)
      1 Magnoliales%%
            1  Archaefructaceae (fossil)
            2  Amborellaceae
            3  Nymphaeaceae
            4  Austrobaileyaceae
            B  Trimeniaceae
            C  Illiciaceae
            D  Schisandraceae
            5  Ceratophyllaceae
            B  {{Ranunculales, etc.}}
                  (= "eudicots")
            6  Chloranthaceae
            7  {{Liliopsida}} (monocots)
            8  Lactoridaceae
            ?  Hydnoraceae
            B  Aristolochiaceae
            C  Piperaceae
            D  Saururaceae
            9  Canellaceae
            B  Winteraceae
           10  Calycanthaceae
            B  Gomortegaceae
            C  Monimiaceae
            D  Hernandiaceae
            E  Lauraceae
           11  Myristicaceae
           12  Magnoliaceae
           13  Degeneriaceae
            B  Himantandraceae
           14  Eupomaticaeae
           15  Annonaceae
     _a_ {{Liliopsidea}} (= monocots)
     _1_ Ranunculales
      2  Proteales
      3  Sabiales
      4  Trochodendrales
      B  Buxales
      5  Gunnerales
      6  Caryophyllales ...
         (plus all other eudicot orders)

_a_ Liliopsidea (monocots)
      1  Acorales
      2  Alismatales
      3  Dioscoreales
      4  Liliales
      B  Orchidales (= Orchidineae)
      C  Asparagales
      5  Pandanales
      6  Arecales
      7  Zingiberales
      8  Commelinales
      9  Hydatellales
      B  Xyridales
      C  Bromeliales
     10  Poales (sensu Kinman 2002)
           (= core Glumiflorae)

     In the long run, dualism is the only really workable solution to our
problems (which are the result of our "duelistic" 30-Years' War in Biology).
  After over 30 years of cladism vs. eclecticism, we are long overdue for a
cladisto-eclectic synthesis (to form a more mutualistic and efficient
synergism which has eluded us for so long).  If you only have time to read
one paper on cladisto-eclecticism, read Kent Carpenter's paper in Syst.
Biol. (42:142-154) which uses a real taxon (Caesionid fishes), and is
therefore easier to sink your teeth into than it might be otherwise.
That's why I love giving actual examples of my classifications, not just
esoteric generalized discussions.

          ------ Ken Kinman
>From: "Tom DiBenedetto" <tdib at>
>Subject: Re: Darwin (was: Phylogenetic evidence)
>Date: Sat, 13 Jul 2002 14:19:24 -0400
>  Ken Kinman wrote: (quoting Knox)
> >     "The distinction between systematization and classification has been
> > politely overlooked or twenty years.  'Cladistic classification' is
> > unattainable given the lack of class concepts in cladistics."
>I seem to recall that the distinction is repeatedly raised from time to
>time. It strikes
>me that there is a valid semantic point to be made, but I wonder about its
>A systemazation of taxa can be presented, analyzed, discussed and used in a
>manner that makes it indistinguishable from a classificaton. If anyone were
>demonstrate some harm that is being done by calling a phylogeny a
>then I am sure that we all would be more careful.
> >      Knox does not quote Darwin, but alludes to such quotes:  "Darwin,
> > Simpson, and others stated, in admittedly vague terms, that
> > cannot be based solely on a knowledge of genealogy."
>Don't you find that to be a silly statement Ken? Of course classification
>can be based
>on geneaology alone - you and Knox may not wish to do so, but it is very
>possible to do.
> >      It's a great paper, and reflects many of my own views on why
> > phylogenetic systematization is incapable of reflecting the dualistic
> > less pluralistic) aspects of evolution.
>Your views on why it is incapable? That is a strange way of putting it. It
>doesn't seem
>to me to be much of a matter of opinion that phylogenetic systematics is
>of reflecting multiple aspects of evolution. It was never intended to do so
>- in fact it
>was specifically intended not to do so.
>The point of course is to allow for a coherent view of a single core aspect
>evolution, the geneaology.
>Tom diBenedetto

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