systematics V taxonomy

Mary Barkworth Mary at BIOLOGY.USU.EDU
Thu Sep 5 16:59:23 CDT 2002

My flippant response is that systematics was introduced because taxonomy
was viewed as ancient, archaic and dead and systematics was new,
experimental, more open-minded, and more scientific.  Name changes are
important, particularly in countries where PR dominates.

Having said that, my take is that taxonomy slants towards identifying
groups (taxa) - but in doing so should consider all relevant information
(which requires trying to understand information from many different
fields) whereas systematics slants more to understanding relationships
and evolutionary processes, again employing and evaluating data from a
wide range of disciplines.  

In other words, I think that there is a difference in interpretation,
but I like to think of them as reflecting different emphases rather than
different disciplines. 

So now everyone has something to shoot at.  

-----Original Message-----
From: Susan B. Farmer [mailto:sfarmer at GOLDSWORD.COM]
Sent: Thursday, September 05, 2002 3:01 PM
Subject: systematics V taxonomy

Several grad students were sitting around discussing/debating the
differences between systematics and taxonomy.  Are there *really*
any differences, or is the distincting mostly semantic?

Susan, curious in Tennessee
Susan Farmer
sfarmer at
Botany Department, University of Tennessee

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