Real taxa => Ranking

John Grehan jgrehan at SCIENCEBUFF.ORG
Tue Sep 28 16:17:58 CDT 2004

> 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.
> Aloha,
> Rich

I wonder if it is possible to differentiate between 'objective' and
'universal'. I would look at ranks as being objective in the sense that
they can be referred to some kind of criterion that is open to
independent evaluation (such as a geographic character, presence of a
particular biological character) even though this criterion might be
limited to that one taxon and a different criterion applied to another
taxon so that the criteria are not universal.

In biogeography, taxa of different ranks have been utilized together to
make biogeographic predictions about geology. Perhaps that means the
different ranks held some kind of objectivity that connected them to the
real world, or perhaps it just shows that it really does not matter.

John Grehan

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