First International Phylogenetic Nomenclature Meeti ng, Paris 2004

Richard Zander Richard.Zander at MOBOT.ORG
Thu Jul 3 09:37:56 CDT 2003

Nice response, Ron.

In the past 250 years, Linnaean taxonomy has either generated or mediated
trillions of dollars in economic benefit and quality of life. Recent
discoveries (PCR, etc.) show that, if anything, the Linnaean endeavor (to
name all the taxa in the world according to a hierarchical system) remains
valuable. In the next 250 years, we need more of the same.

The Phylocode addresses a need for cladistically based formal names. There
are plenty of arguments against any formal standing, however, for those

Foremost is that phylogenetic estimation with morphology and molecular data
generally comes up with much the same arrangements as intuition: ho hum. Or
it comes up with more precision, yet such precision may be an artifact. And
when it produces something not-to-be-expected (a Bold Conjecture), there is
commonly no generally accepted reliability measure with which to encourage
an alpha taxonomist to accept the new arrangement against the old.

Linnaean names are based on binomials (certainly a burden, given name
changes) yet cladistically based names have an even greater burden, since
cladograms vary with different methods and different data.

The Phylocode is greatly limited and may be seen as a "vanity code" for
those solely interested in phylogenetic analysis and its reflection in

The starting point for most Linnaean nomenclature in botany has its 250
anniversary this year. The starting point for most zoological nomenclature
is in 2007. Celebrate.

Richard H. Zander
Bryology Group
Missouri Botanical Garden
PO Box 299
St. Louis, MO 63166-0299
richard.zander at <mailto:richard.zander at>
Voice: 314-577-5180

-----Original Message-----
From: Ron Gatrelle [mailto:gatrelle at TILS-TTR.ORG]
Sent: Thursday, July 03, 2003 1:25 AM
Subject: Re: [TAXACOM] First International Phylogenetic Nomenclature
Meeting, Paris 2004

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jason Mate" <jfmate at HOTMAIL.COM>
Sent: Thursday, July 03, 2003 1:43 AM
Subject: Re: First International Phylogenetic Nomenclature Meeting, Paris

> Dear all,
> " Papers presented at the meeting will be assembled into a
> symposium volume whose publication will coincide with the implementation
> of the PhyloCode."
> Does this mean that PhyloCode is THE new universal code or the organisers
> are hoping that a big hoopla will convince others to accept it?

Silence is agreement.  If those groups not in favor of, or opposed to,
Phylocode do not explicitly and publicly renounce the implied or direct
claim by PhyloCode that it is The new and universal Code, then others
(agencies, governments, etc.) have no reason to not consider it as such.
Phylocode is wise to have taken an aggressive approach.   Tyrants usually
receive too little resistance and too late.  By the time the majority
decides to take a strong enough stand too much ground will have already
been lost.  Civilized men, gentlemen, always make the same mistake.  They
consider reason and diplomacy as a first option - not forceful action.
Nice guys really do finish last in everything that requires strong play.

Ron Gatrelle

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