Real taxa => Ranking

Richard Pyle deepreef at BISHOPMUSEUM.ORG
Tue Sep 28 10:02:24 CDT 2004

> Assigning higher taxonomic rank will *always* be subjective,
> because the higher rankings are *constructs* of *humans* attempting to
> indicate some level of evolutionary relationship.  The key item here is
> that *humans* are involved in the process of naming, so it can't
> be objective!!

As you said, I think most taxonomists/systematists would agree with this.
The point of contention seems to be whether the same statement applies to
species, subpecies, and other "lower" taxonomic ranks.  I have several times
challenged this list to persuade me that there is *any* taxonomic rank that
can be thought of as objective.  Although there have been some very
interesting (and spirited!) discussions, my challenge has gone unmet.


Richard L. Pyle, PhD
Ichthyology, Bishop Museum
1525 Bernice St., Honolulu, HI 96817
Ph: (808)848-4115, Fax: (808)847-8252
email: deepreef at

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