[Taxacom] PhyloCode & ICZN to "duke it out"?

farmer at cb.uga.edu farmer at cb.uga.edu
Wed Oct 3 20:11:30 CDT 2007

Hooray for Emily,

This is exactly what those of us in the field of protistology (you know, that 
group from which the minor taxa of animals, plants, and fungi are derived) 
have hit upon.

Our taxonomy rests on the bedrock of Linnaean and Darwinian concepts; 
namely common descent.  But it is nothing more than a nested hierarchy 
that conveys relatedness in an evolutionary context.

If you have not seen it check out our paper:

and learn that you are nothing more than a eukaryotic opisthokont!


Date sent:	Wed, 03 Oct 2007 20:44:31 -0400
From:	Emily Gillespie <gillel5 at wfu.edu>
Organization:	Wake Forest University
To:	Ken Kinman <kinman at hotmail.com>
Copies to:	TAXACOM at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject:	Re: [Taxacom] PhyloCode & ICZN to "duke it out"?

> Hi Ken and others,
> While I do understand why many people bristle at the thought of 
> radically changing nomenclatural rules, I thought it would be 
> appropriate to point out a couple of things that I haven't seen
> written in previous discussions about this topic.
> First, becaue ranks are arbitrary from a biological perspective,
> phylocode (or any similar innovation) could not destroy a perceived
> hierarchy of names, in that sense.  In other words, phylocode cannot
> demote or elevate ranks because it doesn't use them, and whether the
> proper name of a group is "A" or "B" doesn't change by dropping the
> rank. So, there's no loss of taxonomic stability there.
> Second, if you think about it, phylocode might actually lead to less
> name change _overall _in the long run.  Consider a situation in
> Linnaean taxonomy, where one family is determined to be derived from
> within another.  In this case, one name or the other has to be changed
> because there's no convention to accomodate a rank within the same
> rank.  In a rank-less system, there's nothing wrong with an
> already-named family being nested within another named family because
> they're simply proper names; you just have to be aware of that
> hypothesis of relationships when thinking about evolution within that
> group, but that is the case anyway.  This seems ok to me, because
> knowing that "A" is derived from within "B", _and _that they both were
> previously recognized as families, for example, should in fact tell me
> something about  _how _we perceived these taxa historically, and then
> I should ask _why _they were thought to be more distantly related than
> we now know them to be.  Seems all very informative to me.
> It really seems to me that most of the conflict among folks debating
> about the Linnaean system versus Phylocode (or something like it)
> stems from whether a person is list-thinking or tree-thinking.  If you
> think in terms of lists, then any change of names wreaks a certain
> amount of havoc on one's ability to keep up with name changes. 
> However, if one thinks in terms of trees, then name changes sometimes
> simply follow necessarily from re-evaluation of evolutionary
> relationships.  And of course, outside an evolutionary context, group
> names don't mean much.
> I suppose what I could see happening in the end is keeping Linnaean
> proper names (not ranks) wherever possible, because institutional
> memory is important and the names, but recognizing where Linnaean
> names simply cannot be retained because keeping them simply confuses
> how we interpret evolution within a group of organisms. I would be
> curious to hear your thoughts about this.
> Emily
> Ken Kinman wrote:
> > Dear All,
> >     I was reading yet another thread on the DML (Dinosaur Mailing 
> > List) about conflicts between PhyloCode and ICZN.  I guess I should
> > say "potential" conflicts, since PhyloCode is thankfully still not
> > in effect.
> >
> >     Anyway, what caught my attention this time was not only the 
> > admission that PhyloCode and ICZN (and presumably other Codes) would
> > have to "duke it out" over conflicts, but the suggestion that ICZN
> > (and presumably other Codes) should only deal with genus and species
> > names.  Ha ha!!!  Like we are going to let them take over
> > jurisdiction of family group names, ordinal names, etc.  Especially
> > since they seem deadset on destroying the Linnaean hierarchy
> > altogether.  Anyway, here's a link to the posting (the most
> > pertinent parts are the last two paragraphs):
> >
> > http://dml.cmnh.org/2007Oct/msg00033.html
> >
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Mark A. Farmer
Dept. Cellular Biology
724 Biological Sciences Bldg.						
University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602
(706)542-3383 Voice   (706)542-4271 FAX
farmer at cb.uga.edu  

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