[Taxacom] Mona Lisa Smile

John Grehan jgrehan at sciencebuff.org
Thu Jul 27 07:12:45 CDT 2006

Stability aside, the orangutan relationship could lead to the
classification of Hominidae as to include only those members of the
human lineage following separation from our nearest living ape relative.
This delineation would be quite stable; the only uncertainties being
allocation of fossil taxa - and even there it might not be that
problematic if there were unimpeded access to holotypes and other
specimens. At present one would include Homo and Australopithecus. After
that probably Orrorin.

The sister group Pongidae would comprise the orangutan and its fossil

African apes would belong to Panidae. Allocation of fossils may be more
problematic given the lack of complete fossils, but the 20 million year
old Morotopithecus has an upper palate incisive foramen configuration
that is only found in the gorilla.

This arrangement is presented in the Mona Lisa paper. It was first
proposed by Schwartz 1983, but suppressed.

John Grehan
Dr. John R. Grehan
Director of Science and Collections
Buffalo Museum of Science1020 Humboldt Parkway
Buffalo, NY 14211-1193
email: jgrehan at sciencebuff.org
Phone: (716) 896-5200 ext 372

Ghost moth research
Human evolution and the great apes


> -----Original Message-----
> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:taxacom-
> bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Ken Kinman
> Sent: Wednesday, July 26, 2006 11:52 PM
> To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Mona Lisa Smile
> Richard,
>      I agree that there are numerous "correct" classifications, and
> testing can show all of them to be phylogenetically correct
> simultaneously.
> The increasingly inclusive variations of Family Hominidae are a clear
> example.
>      But they are not equally optimal in making the classification
> and useful to the vast majority of users, and that is true even when
> restricts oneself to holophyletic taxa only.  But sometimes a
> taxon (e.g. the traditional Pongidae) is just too useful and stable to
> justify switching to any of the far less optimal cladified
> (particularly when there is no clear agreement even among strict
> which cladified alternative they prefer).  Being phylogenetically
> is
> just one criterion a taxon needs to meet.  Clearly I believe a
> labelled paraphyletic taxon can be just as correct as any strictly
> cladified
> alternative, and that it can exceed them in being far more stable and
> useful.
>   ----Ken Kinman
> *********************************
> >From: "Richard Pyle" <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org>
> >To: <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
> >Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Mona Lisa Smile
> >Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2006 03:30:31 -1000
> >
> >
> > > At 06:13 AM 7/26/2006, pierre deleporte wrote:
> > > >I my view, the worst "divorce from reality" (I would rather say:
> > > >"divorce from realism") could well be the lasting belief in the
> > > >Grail of a unique, universal, optimal-for-all-purposes
> > > classification.
> > >
> > > Of course not, for the simple reason that (as I constantly remind
> > > students) A Classification Is A Hypothesis.  As such,
> > > classifications are constantly being tested, a process that
> > > either supports them or fails to support them.  That's why
> > > taxonomy IS science.
> > >
> > > That does not mean that we cannot arrive at a classification
> > > that withstand repeated testing and so achieve a modicum of
> > > long-term stability and broad utility, perhaps to the point
> > > where we would call it a "theory."
> >
> >I don't think that was Pierre's point.  I think he was saying that
> >are many "correct" (optimal?) classifications, depending on the axis
> around
> >which you want to arrange your classification (phylogenetic vs.
> ecological
> >vs. phenetic, etc.)  The "Classification Is A Hypothesis" approach
> >advocate (to which I do not personally subscribe), seems to imply
> >there is some sort of singular "natural" classification "out there",
> >against which these classification hypotheses can be "tested".
> >
> >We've had this conversation before on this forum, and I'm pretty sure
> >know Pierre's position on this (which is very similar to my own). I
> on
> >him to correct me if I'm wrong.
> >
> >Aloha,
> >Rich
> >
> >__________________________________
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