Robert Mesibov mesibov at SOUTHCOM.COM.AU
Thu Jul 21 18:05:50 CDT 2005

Don Colless wrote:
"Robert's notion of two separate "goalposts" - for classification and
phylogeny - is IMHO a neat and accurate metaphor. However, it was, and I
presume still is, the ultimate heresy to the strict cladist, who has always
insisted that the goals are identical! I shudder when I think of the paper,
ink, and bile that has been wasted over the years in the mediaeval-style
debates on this matter. What a pity that we couldn't have started out with
recognition of TWO goals for taxonomy; or perhaps two separate names - say,
taxonomist and phylogeneticist."

The strictest cladists I've read argue that what they do produces the best
possible classifications, i.e. ones that minimise character conflict. The
argument that the best cladistic classification is also the best phylogeny
estimate seems to come from phylogeneticists in search of reliable tools.
Dr Robert Mesibov
Honorary Research Associate, Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery
and School of Zoology, University of Tasmania
Home contact: PO Box 101, Penguin, Tasmania, Australia 7316
(03) 6437 1195

Tasmanian Multipedes
Spatial data basics for Tasmania

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