systematics V taxonomy

Thomas DiBenedetto tdib at OCEANCONSERVANCY.ORG
Fri Sep 6 10:08:57 CDT 2002

I basically agree with Jacques Melot, that "systematics" and "taxonomy" are
terms that are not clearly distinguished, either in history or in current
usage. Taxonomy refers to the identification and description of groups. As
Ken Kinman pointed out, current usage (at least in USA) tends to restrict
the meaning to the species, or population level - alpha taxonomy, although
the use of the qualifier indicates that the concept has broader references.
"Systematics" clearly refers to the effort to discern a natural system in
biological diversity, and to order species into a compatible framework.
Within the evolutionary paradigm, the natural system is understood to be a
divergent lineage system, which can be represented as groups within groups.
Thus defining groups, and discerning the natural system that underlies
diversity are essentially the same project. This understanding has, of
course, been brought into clear focus by the cladistic revolution.

Tom diBenedetto

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