[Taxacom] Mona Lisa Smile

Thomas G. Lammers lammers at uwosh.edu
Thu Jul 27 09:41:24 CDT 2006

At 09:21 AM 7/27/2006, pierre deleporte wrote:
>Tom's specification below gives some partial clues for a real, constructive
>discussion: he seems to need a phylogenetic classification - but I must
>notice that he doesn't states why: the nature of the desired classification
>is rather explicit, but a clear statement of the context of relevance for
>such a phylogenetic classification is missing.

Any classification seeks to express "relationships."  Items are classified 
together because they relate to one another in some fashion: appearance, 
function, use, origin, etc.

The question then is what relationship shall we examine among living 
things?  To my thinking, the relationship that results from descent from a 
common ancestor is likely to yield the best classification.        Things 
that share a common ancestor more often than not will have the maximal 
number of things in common.  This is not always the case, and that is where 
I differ from strict cladists.  Depending on the environment a lineage 
faces, it may diverge considerably from its sister group as it maximizes 
survivorship and fecundity.  I have no problem lopping off such discordant 
elements and leaving behind a homogeneous if paraphyletic group.  I have no 
problem with groups like "fish" or "reptiles" -- they are useful.

Tom Lammers
Thomas G. Lammers, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Curator of the Herbarium (OSH)
Department of Biology and Microbiology
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54901-8640 USA

e-mail:       lammers at uwosh.edu
phone:      920-424-1002
fax:           920-424-1101

Plant systematics; classification, nomenclature, evolution, and 
biogeography of the Campanulaceae s. lat.

"Today's mighty oak is yesterday's nut that stood his ground."
                                                               -- Anonymous
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