"types" - was Barcoding (animal) life

Frederick W. Schueler bckcdb at ISTAR.CA
Wed Feb 5 14:09:43 CST 2003


STEPHEN MANNING wrote:

> This really does get back to the issue, addressed recently by Richard Pyle and others, of how to fit modern DNA and other phylogenetic information into the Linnaean system of nomenclature.  - I can remember perceiving this issue, at least dimly, back in the 1980's and justifying doing essentially phenetic work on the basis that "no one wants to overrule Linnaeus".  Well, maybe that is ultimately what is needed.
> Maybe we would actually feel liberated if we abandoned the Linnaean system of nomenclature

* I've been grumped at before for saying this - but the Aristotelian,
non-Darwinian, baggage that goes with Linnaean nomenclature is the
higher categories. Leave them off a classification and what have you
lost? Anybody who recognizes the names will have a feeling for what the
taxa are, and for others they're just steps in the hierarchy, even if
not decorated with "Subtribe" or "Superfamily."  If we're going to have
appendices attached to the names of taxa, it seems that there are three
options: overall phenetic difference from the sister group, overall
genetetic difference from the sister group, and date of origin. And each
of those is a falsifiable datum that would tell you a lot about what the
author believes to be true about the taxon. An agonizing decision about
sub- or family status, on the other hand, is relatively
information-poor.

fred.
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