[Taxacom] Mona Lisa Smile

D. Christopher Rogers crogers at ecoanalysts.com
Fri Jul 28 11:50:05 CDT 2006

Hello all,

I had to be away for a couple of days, so I may be out of the loop now on
the conversation. If so, I apologise. But yes, Ken is correct. I was not
throwing out cladistics or genetics. I think they are wonderfully useful
tools, which I have employed in some of my species descriptions and
taxonomic revisions. What I am frustrated with is any system that mandates a
myopic dogmatism that only one tool in our taxonomic toolbox can be used. So
when my friends of the PhyloCode philosophy tell me that the aquatic
invertebrate identification manuals I am working on should not include any
taxa other than what they call "least inclusive taxonomic units", I wonder
how anyone is supposed to identify the organisms in their samples?

There are hundreds of laboratories across the world with workers that need
dichotomous keys to identify the bugs in their samples so they can evaluate
the health of their local environment. This conservation work is very
important. I don't know, maybe some day we will have a machine that we can
dump a sample of invertebrates into it, and it will sequence all the genes,
and then it will tell us what and how many of each species are in the
sample. But it seems to me that genetic convergence, genes moved about by
viruses, and mutations will confuse the data.

What I would like is a system that takes all aspects into account, as they
are applicable to a given taxon. I understand that there are fruit flies
species somewhere that are not appreciably different molecularly, but are
morphologically, ecologically and behaviorally isolated. If so, the genes
may not be useful. Then there are lots of taxa where the opposite is true,
like in all the Artemia sibling species (one of my pet groups). Life is
complex in its myriad forms and solutions for survival. Therefore, using a
single tool to describe that complexity is limiting our understanding and
appreciation of it.

Please forgive me Ken, but I am not familiar with the "Kinman System",
although I would like to be. Can you send me a reprint? If you want to
define it for me by email, you may want to do so off the taxacom list,
unless it is germane?


D. Christopher Rogers
Invertebrate Ecologist/Taxonomist

EcoAnalysts, Inc.
(530) 406-1178
166 Buckeye Street
Woodland CA 95695 USA

? Invertebrate Taxonomy
? Invertebrate Ecological Studies
? Bioassessment and Study Design
? Endangered Invertebrate Species
? Zooplankton
? Periphyton/ Phytoplankton

Moscow, ID ? Bozeman, MT ? Woodland, CA ? Neosho, MO ? Selinsgrove, PA

-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu]On Behalf Of Ken Kinman
Sent: Thursday, July 27, 2006 7:56 PM
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: [Spam] Re: [Taxacom] Mona Lisa Smile

     What I got from Christopher's post was not that phylogenetic
considerations are not useful to his industry, but rather that it is
strictly cladistic classifications (and a PhyloCode that mandates
them)----after all, even my classifications are phylogenetic (just not
phylogenetic in the strictest sense).  And calling it ivory tower thinking
makes perfect sense to me, having said the same thing myself, in that it is
anti-Linnaean in rejecting paraphyletic taxa (and PhyloCode is even more
anti-Linnaean in wanting to dispense with Linnaean categories).

      Therefore a Kinman System type of classification is addressing this
type of frustration (which not only occurs in industry and society at large,
but a lot of those who share those ivory tower habitats, although they do
not engaged such narrow ivory tower thinking).

      Workers like Christopher can simply ignore the coding within my
classifications and be content with a basically traditional Linnaean
classification that is relatively stable.  The coding in the margins is just
there for those of us whose have an interest in the cladistic particulars.
For the vast majority of the inhabitants of our planet (and no doubt a
majority of scientists as well), a paraphyletic Class Reptilia works just
fine, and they resent that minority of ivory tower inhabitants who are
destroying that kind of stability and utility in biological classifications.

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