lonely Dan Janzen

Wed Mar 24 15:58:48 CST 2004

>>>From: Richard Pyle [mailto:deepreef at BISHOPMUSEUM.ORG]
I do not believe that the fuzzy compromise will perpetuate indefinitely.
The writing is already on the wall.  Speaking as a morphological taxonomist
who has never run a gel in his life, it is extraordinarily obvious to me
that the best INFORMATION that can help us reconstruct phylogenies (absent a
highly detailed fossil record) is buried
within the genome.  <<<

I have to disagree with this.  The apparent instability, as Rich has said,
is in part because so much more information is being accumulated at such
speed.  I maintain that it's not the naming system, but the information
accumulation and information gaps, that are the problem.  Until/unless the
"ultimate phylogeny" is figured out, there will continue to be such
instability.  Given the number of species still to be found, examined and
characterized (genetically and morphologically), it's going to be a long
time yet before we have the final, all-encompassing phylogeny of life on

So maybe Dan's "always" is not truly accurate, but Rich sounds a bit overly
optimistic about how much short of "always" we'll be in settling
relationships (and hence, names/codes/IDs).

Of course, I'm just a pessimist.


Robin K Panza
Section of Birds, Carnegie Museum of Natural History
4400 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh  PA  15213-4080
ph:  412-622-3255;     fax:  412-622-8837
<mailto:panzar at carnegiemuseums.org>

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