systematics V taxonomy

Ron at Ron at
Fri Sep 6 13:20:46 CDT 2002

Thomas DiBenedetto wrote Re: systematics V taxonomy

> I basically agree with Jacques Melot, that "systematics" and "taxonomy"
> terms that are not clearly distinguished, either in history or in current
> usage. Taxonomy refers to the identification and description of groups.
> Ken Kinman pointed out, current usage (at least in USA) tends to restrict
> the meaning to the species, or population level - alpha taxonomy,
> the use of the qualifier indicates that the concept has broader
> "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
> divergent lineage system, which can be represented as groups within
> 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.

For 40 years in general speech and writing I just say "taxonomy" or
"taxonomic research",  but what I actually mean is "systematic taxonomy".
I have always seen this as one activity or area of science.  I don't think
cladistics has brought "this" into focus at all in the above context.
Systematic taxonomy has in my lifetime always been aware of and addressed
all areas of biological and evolutional relationships - which is why the
ICZN Code in delineating the rules of our nomenclature has always addressed
all ranks (evolutionary relationships).

So, "current usage (at least in USA) tends to restrict the meaning to the
_species_, or population level - alpha taxonomy"  has never had any such
restrictive meaning to me.

The area of scientific study has been and is Systematics (evolutionary
action and resultant biological systems - theorized at all levels).  Its
conclusions are diagrammed in a Taxonomy (traditional or clade trees) as
expressed via the language of a Nomenclature (per codes - ZN or phylo).
End nodes or subspecies - they are basically the same evolutionary product
expressed in different (argumentative) ways by humans.  That is my
subjective view of the whole (oversimplified) thing.   It is impossible, by
the way, for subjective views to be wrong to the subjector(s).

Cheers :-)
Ron Gatrelle

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