Fungi (was: MSc in the biodiversity and taxonomy of plants
kinman2 at YAHOO.COM
Wed Mar 1 22:42:58 CST 2006
Well, although Fungi are often considered the Fifth Kingdom, I actually still prefer the Four Kingdom classification of organisms (with eumycotans and other fungal groups within Kingdom Protista). Metaphyta and Metazoa certainly diverged and diversified enough to be regarded as separate Kingdoms, but "Metafungi" (eumycotans) are a VERY distant third (and thus not surprisingly long subsumed within the study of botany, even though they are actually closer to metazoans).
Fungal groups are polyphyletic, but they all have strong evolutionary affinities with various protist groups, so raising Fungi to the status of the Fifth Kingdom only confused matters. Not as much as the horrible "Three Domain" classification, but confusing nevertheless. Life divided into four Kingdoms: a paraphyletic Monera gives rise to Protista (which paraphyetically gives rise to Metaphyta and Metazoa). It is amazingly similar to the four-part division of tetrapod classes: a paraphyletic Amphibia gives rise to Reptilia (which paraphyletically gives rise to Mammalia and Aves). Both result in a Y-shaped tree (both of which are easily understood, unlike the cladifications which began to wreck them in the 1970's and 1980's). In any case, if you want a Fifth Kingdom, call it Eumycota (NOT Fungi).
More information about the Taxacom