Understanding evolution problems

pierre deleporte pierre.deleporte at UNIV-RENNES1.FR
Wed Mar 17 17:45:32 CST 2004

Dear Richard,

I really appreciate your warnings against over-resolution of topologies in 
phylogenetics (of all kinds), and your connected comment that one needs to 
become a phylogenetician in order to develop a useful critic. This vails 
for phylogeny inference (evolutionary biology).

But as for classification, don't you perfectly know that an exact match 
between phylogenetic topology-based classification and any character-based 
classification is unattainable ? Not only phenetic overall similarity 
matches phylogeny only under some peculiar evolutionary processes 
(clocklike), but even synapomorphies may be labile in the evolutionary 
process, and snakes are irremediably "legless tetrapods". Hence, what do 
you suggest as for "melding rules"? Back to the "art of the systematician", 
or anything new ? Any non-artistic, or as least artistic as possible, 
melding rule ?

Present codes fix quite precious rules against ambiguity in alpha taxonomy 
and nomenclature, and say nothing as for classification rules. Maybe wisely 
so... But is the holy grail of the "unique, universal, fit-for-all-purpose" 
classification rule anything else than an utopia ? Is a unique "best 
possible" classification imaginable at all ? Or do different problems 
require different relevant kinds of (optimal) classifications ?


A 09:09 17/03/2004 -0600, you wrote :
>That was irony. We need a counter revolution that re-melds taxonomy and
>phylogenetics into old definition systematics.
>Richard H. Zander
>Bryology Group
>Missouri Botanical Garden
>PO Box 299
>St. Louis, MO 63166-0299
>richard.zander at mobot.org <mailto:richard.zander at mobot.org>
>Voice: 314-577-5180
>Fax: 314-577-9595
>Bryophyte Volumes of Flora of North America:
>Res Botanica:
>Shipping address for UPS, etc.:
>Missouri Botanical Garden
>4344 Shaw Blvd.
>St. Louis, MO 63110
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Thomas G. Lammers [mailto:lammers at VAXA.CIS.UWOSH.EDU]
>Sent: Thursday, March 04, 2004 12:08 PM
>Subject: Re: [TAXACOM] Understanding evolution problems
>At 10:31 AM 3/4/04, Richard Zander wrote:
> >Nice point, but "our discipline"? "Systematics" is now phylogenetics and
> >its application to classification.
>I refuse to acknowledge *that* redefinition as well.

Pierre Deleporte
CNRS UMR 6552 - Station Biologique de Paimpont
F-35380 Paimpont   FRANCE
Téléphone : 02 99 61 81 66
Télécopie : 02 99 61 81 88

More information about the Taxacom mailing list