[Taxacom] Endless Subject

Mario Blanco mblanco at flmnh.ufl.edu
Fri Apr 3 14:10:47 CDT 2009

ALL classifications are special-purpose classifications. How is your 
preferred classification not a special-purpose one?

And I completely disagree with your statement that phylogenetic 
classifications eliminate descendant-ancestor relationships. In my 
opinion, a paraphyletic classification cripples such information by 
separating groups that belong together. Isn't it funny how we can view 
the same problem from two very different perspectives? It all depends on 
what your special purpose is.

But hey, let's happily continue this discussion ad infinitum. I wonder 
how many Taxacomers have gotten fed up with this endless thread that is 
going nowhere and finally decided to unsubscribe, looking for a forum 
that actually discusses real biology.

From:     Richard Zander <Richard.Zander at mobot.org>

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
Voice: 314-577-0276
Missouri Botanical Garden
PO Box 299
St. Louis, MO 63166-0299 USA
richard.zander at mobot.org
Web sites: http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/resbot/
and http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/bfna/bfnamenu.htm
Non-post deliveries to:
Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63110

-----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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