[Taxacom] classifications (was: no subject)

Richard Zander Richard.Zander at mobot.org
Fri Apr 3 10:58:02 CDT 2009

I think there is no such thing at a particular level as well, let's all
agree to disagree. If phylogeneticists produce a phylogenetic
classification and present it as the best representation using the
Linnaean system of sister-group relationships, and eliminating
descendant-ancestor relationships, that's fine. It's a special purpose
classification like alphabetical classification for ease in accessing
specimens, artificial hierarchies in keys to speed identification,
organizations in popular identification manuals for amateur naturalists,
and so on. But this is not the case with phylogenetic classifications
because there is now no alternative. Apparently studying evolution is
now taught to students as restricted to sister-group analysis, but tell
it to evolutionists. "Allowing some paraphyletic families" is nonsense.
They exist as products of evolution.

I stipulate that this would not be a problem if evolutionary taxonomists
would recognize what is happening and generate alternative
classifications. I'm working up an alternative paraphyly-safe
classification for my own group, with vigorous justifications for the
autophyletic taxa, but it's a drop in the bucket.

Richard H. Zander 
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Missouri Botanical Garden
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richard.zander at mobot.org
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-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Mario Blanco
Sent: Thursday, April 02, 2009 6:11 PM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] classifications (was: no subject)

   Ken, as a "strict cladist", I do not like classifications that allow
paraphyletic groups. If I want to see "ancestor-descendant information" 
I can simply consult the latest phylogenetic hypotheses on the group of
interest, as some have repeatedly said.

   And, do you really think you can convince everyone (even most people)
to use a moderately paraphyletic classification like yours? There will
always be many people like me, who prefer a strictly cladistic
classification. And there will always be a lot of people that prefer
much more paraphyletic classifications (e.g., accepting Reptilia), just
because it is easier for them to remember. That is why you are wrong
when you say that the APG could "very, very easily make their
classification almost universally acceptable" by allowing some
paraphyletic families.

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