systematics V taxonomy

Jacques Melot jacques.melot at ISHOLF.IS
Thu Sep 5 23:51:26 CDT 2002


  Le 5/09/02, à 19:28 -0400, nous recevions de John McNeill :

>Mary Barkworth's "take" is well-supported historically.  The
>definitions of systematics and taxonomy in Simpson's Principles of
>Animal Taxonomy (? title) (Columbia UP 195?) and in Davis &
>Heywood's "Principles of Angiosperm Taxonomy" (1963) are those from
>which this "take" derives.



    Avec des dates aussi récentes (195x et 1963), nous sommes loin de
pouvoir parler d'un fondement historique solide des distinctions
faites actuellement.

    Il est important de prendre conscience du fait que, d'un point de
vue historique, les deux termes ont commencé par désigner une seule
et même notion. Ce n'est que plus tard, à la suite de péripéties
linguistiques plus ou moins heureuses, que les deux mots se sont
différenciés, à tort ou à raison. Notez que de nombreux ouvrages
généraux et presque tous les dictionnaires donnent les termes
"taxinomie" et "systématique" comme pratiquement synonymes. Cette
unanimité mérite d'être notée et donne à réfléchir.

    La vraie et bonne question est : a-t-on vraiment besoin de deux
termes ? Une première contribution à la réponse consiste déjà à
remarquer que très souvent les termes "taxinomie" et "systématique"
(et les adjectifs dérivés) sont employés de manière interchangeable :
ceci est un fait et il est probablement significatif.

    Jacques Melot



>In that understanding, taxonomy, the study of the principles and
>practice of classification is a subset of systematics, the study of
>populations of organisms and of any and all relationships between
>them -- if my late night -- actually early morning -- memory of
>those once definitive works serves me well.  John McNeill
>-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>John McNeill, Director Emeritus, Royal Ontario Museum;
>     Honorary Associate ,Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh
>Mailing address:  Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, EH3 5LR, Scotland, U.K.
>Telephone:    +44-131-248-2912;  fax: +44-131-248-2901
>Home office:  +44-162-088-0651;  fax: +44-162-088-0342
>e-mail: jmcneill at rbge.org.uk (johnm at rom.on.ca is also read)
>-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
>
>
>>>>  Mary Barkworth <Mary at BIOLOGY.USU.EDU> 09/05/02 19:01 PM >>>
>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 systemaics 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
>To: TAXACOM at USOBI.ORG
>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 goldsword.com
>Botany Department, University of Tennessee
>http://www.goldsword.com/sfarmer/Trillium




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