paraphyly and polyphyly

Thomas G. Lammers lammers at UWOSH.EDU
Wed Nov 10 13:25:34 CST 2004

At 01:17 PM 11/10/2004, Derek Sikes wrote:
>I'm preparing to teach an introductory course in systematics and would
>like to hear back on the following issue:

It sounds to me as though you have a pretty good grasp on the subject.

I've often thought that a lot of the confusion stems from the idea that
paraphyly is A Bad Thing rather than The Natural Order of Things, i.e., the
pattern evolution most often creates.

I recall a paper a number of years back that attempted to address some of
these practical and philosophical concerns but describing groups as
"convex" or "concave."  It didn't catch on, but I always thought there was
some merit to the author's ideas.

Thomas G. Lammers, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor and Curator of the Herbarium (OSH)
Department of Biology and Microbiology
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54901-8640 USA

e-mail:       lammers at
phone:      920-424-1002
fax:           920-424-1101

Plant systematics; classification, nomenclature, evolution, and
biogeography of the Campanulaceae s. lat.

"Today's mighty oak is yesterday's nut that stood his ground."
                                                               -- Anonymous

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