[Taxacom] Lumping and Splitting

Richard Pyle deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Thu Sep 6 19:56:09 CDT 2007

I haven't been able to figure out yet whether I'm a lumper or a splitter.  I
have at one time or another been accused (or have accused myself) of being
both.  I think my strongest bias is neither for lumping nor splitting, but
rather preserving existing nomenclatural stability unless given a damn good
reason to change things.

My own belief is that much of the arguments about cladistc vs. eclectic
approachs to nomenclatural systematics (as well as arguments about molecular
vs. morphological characters in shaping nomenclatural classification) is
ultimately rooted in differences about what constitutes a "damn good reason"
to alter existing nomenclature.


P.S. My use of the qualifier "nomenclatural" in front of "systematics" and
"classification" above is intended to reflect the fact that I'm perfectly
happy to see a million alternative cladograms representing alternate
hypotheses about phylogenetic affinities among a group of organisms -- using
whatever metric any author wants to use.  It only represents a problem when
otherwise stable Linnaean nomenclature is contorted in order to assert one's
own cladogram du joir.

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