NOT-inflated Family Staphylinidae

Ken Kinman kinman2 at YAHOO.COM
Fri Feb 11 13:32:53 CST 2005

Dear Michael:
     Well, I believe my so-called "drivel" about coleopteran suborders actually is on topic.  To me the basal Polyphaga hypothesis makes a lot more sense.  If Polyphaga are basal coleopterans, and Staphyliniformia keep sliding down toward the base of Polyphaga, we are talking about some really primitive beetles here.  Therefore, keep on expanding the Staphylinidae and you could end up with a family that is not only paraphyletic with respect to Scarabaeiformia, but even with respect to whole suborders (yikes!!!).

      I am trying to prevent the creation of any paraphyly here, because that kind of paraphyly is not useful (but ironically it is strict cladists who often end up creating them inadvertently).  Overlumping can just as easily create paraphyly as prevent it (even more so in basal taxa), so it is a shame that cladistics courses increasingly fail to properly educated students about paraphyly (other than lumping it with polyphyly as "unnatural", which is totally false).  BTW, I would never call anyone a cladonazi, because I love cladistics, and some traditional systematists probably think I love cladistics too much (a few might even call ME a cladonazi).  But if someone wants to call you a "strictocladonazi", I would not object to that.  ;-)
   ---- Ken
P.S.  If some omnipotent deity did present us with a complete database on the interrelationships of all life forms (living and extinct), the rampant paraphyly that would become immediately apparent would be a strict cladist's nightmare (with the sudden realization that they HAVE been throwing the baby out with the bathwater).
Michael wrote:
As for your attempt to change the subject on the Coleoptera debate, I did not mention the subordinal tree at all, nor did Thayer nor Sikes.  You have no idea what any of us think about it, and it is not the subject of debate.  We were debating your idea of supporting non-monophyletic groups instead of a larger monophyletic ones in the Staphylinoidea.  Your diversion is another cheap attempt to change the subject after losing the argument.  We are talking about the Staphylinidae -- try to stay on topic.

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