[Taxacom] Mona Lisa Smile

Thomas Lammers lammers at uwosh.edu
Thu Jul 27 07:32:36 CDT 2006

----- Original Message -----
From: Richard Pyle <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org>
> I don't think that was Pierre's point.  I think he was 
> saying that there are many "correct" (optimal?) classifications, 
> depending on the axis around which you want to arrange your 
> classification (phylogenetic vs. ecological vs. phenetic, 
> etc.)  

Fair enough.  I agree with that.

>>The "Classification Is A Hypothesis" approach you advocate (to which I do not personally subscribe), seems to 
imply that there is some sort of singular "natural" classification "out there", against which these classification 
hypotheses can be "tested".<<

There is.  It's called "the actual historical facts of the group's evolution."  These populations we see today ARE derived from pre-existing populations through modification over time.  I think we all can agree to that.  I believe that the more closely our classification reflects that underlying "truth," the better it is.  We can argue about whether cladistics is the best method for inferring this historical truth, or HOW our classification should reflect it (e.g., is paraphyly okay?), but I cannot imagine anyone thinking it would be a BAD think if our classifications reflected evolutionary history.

Tom Lammers

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