PROTISTA - let's move on

Ken Kinman kinman2 at YAHOO.COM
Thu Mar 9 20:49:48 CST 2006

      I have no problem with polytomies when we have no idea at all how the taxa are interrelated.  However, in the case of the protist polytomies under discussion, Cavalier-Smith has offered convincing evidence and arguments just how they are probably related.  Interestingly, various workers have challenged him on the details, such as one last year on the phylogeny of Amoebozoa.  However in that case, they did not dispute the contents of Amoebozoa, just the order in which those taxa split off within Amoebozoa.  Therefore, I am keeping Amoebozoa as a Phylum as well.

     Not surprisingly, Adl et al. (2005) generally reflect the overall protist classifications of Cavalier-Smith.  Thankfully, they also seem to shy away from a Kingdom Chromista.  This is an extremely dynamic field, and Patterson's conservative approach is likely to leave him in the dust as others keep pushing ahead.  I just can't help but wonder if it is Cavalier-Smith's willingness to recognize some paraphyletic taxa that keeps some workers from accepting his classifications.  Obviously I favor challenging the particulars of his classifications, but huge conservative polytomies are frankly old-fashioned, uninformative, and clearly unnecessary in this case.  Not that there are no protists of uncertain position, but these huge polytomies are not at all helpful in my opinion.  If there are well-supported alternatives, fine, but present those alternatives, NOT retreat into polytomies and claim that others are not doing good science.
    ---Ken Kinman
On 2006-03-07 20:06, Ken Kinman wrote:
> ...just an admission of ignorance and/or speculation.
Then Curtis Clark asked:
And this is bad how?

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