NT & modern cladistics

Ken Kinman kinman at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Apr 16 23:21:06 CDT 2003

     I agree, and Hennig's work and ideas will undoubtedly receive much
deserved praise by historians of science.  Well, at least other than the
"anti-paraphyly" thing, but I suppose strictly cladistic classification
works *reasonably* well when you are just looking at flies (and their
relatively limited fossil record).
     It's supraordinal taxa where strict cladism does most of its damage (as
well as for ordinal and lower taxa which have extensive fossil records).  So
I don't criticize Hennig----just what the AMNH group and allies did with
some of his ideas, and the vertebrate paleontologists in particular should
have known better.
         ---- Cheers,
                    Ken Kinman

>From: christian thompson <cthompson at SEL.BARC.USDA.GOV>
>Reply-To: christian thompson <cthompson at SEL.BARC.USDA.GOV>
>Subject: NT & modern cladistics
>Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2003 10:35:08 -0400
>Dick, Don, et alia, are right when they say, to quote Dick:
>"Despite wishes to the contrary, modern cladistics is
>an outgrowth of NT."
>Everyone one should know that Steve Farris started off in the NT group
>and only later switch over the emerging American Museum school of
>"cladisitcs," etc.  And thus was born "phenetic cladistics."
>What has really been lost today is what Willi Hennig was really all
>about. As working dipterist, I can tell you what Hennig really did was
>produce "Argumentation Schemes," not cladograms, etc. There was nothing
>about "modern cladistics" where you take the "total evidence," following
>parsimony, run everything thru a computer and produce the best answer,
>which for insects and their allies as published in Nature last year
>showed that Hennig's flies where the sister-group to barnacles!
>[Darwin's group!]
>Hennig studied diverse "character systems," such as wing venation,
>immature stages, male genitalia, etc., and look at a broad range of
>exemplars, including fossils, as well as looking at distribution
>(geographic) patterns. From all these sources of information he
>developed his hypotheses, basing them on character evidence as he saw
>it. Yes, selective character evidence. If some molecular sequences put
>Drosophila with the barnacles, he would have ignored them.
>Fortunately Willi Hennig died young and, thus, unlike Ernst Mayr, did
>not have to suffer to see his Science and Name corrupted.
>Oh, well ...
>F. Christian Thompson
>Systematic Entomology Lab., USDA
>c/o Smithsonian Institution
>MRC-0169 NHB
>PO Box 37012
>Washington, DC 20013-7012
>(202) 382-1800 voice
>(202) 786-9422 FAX
>cthompso at sel.barc.usda.gov e-mail
>www.diptera.org  web site

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