[Taxacom] splitting up genus Drosophila?

Richard Zander Richard.Zander at mobot.org
Wed Feb 18 09:40:22 CST 2009

Actually, paraphyly of Drosophila is not a problem but a wonderful
opportunity to examine descent with modification of taxa. Clearly the
paraphyletic group is the ancestor of the autophyletic taxa. 

It is only an importunate homage to the sister-group analytic method
that enforces strict phylogenetic monophyly (holophyly) in modern
classifications, splitting, excising, or reducing in rank taxa that
should have unique evolutionary traits flagged at a proper level in
classification. Because ancestor-descendant relationships are not
recognized in phylogenetic classification, phylogeneticists are
destroying more evolutionary information than creationists and
intelligent design ever will.

I've said this elsewhere, so far to no effect.

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

-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Kenneth Kinman
Sent: Tuesday, February 17, 2009 8:10 PM
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: [Taxacom] splitting up genus Drosophila?

Dear All,
     Until today I hadn't ever paid much attention to the taxonomy of
the fly genus Drosophila.  However, it seems that it is paraphyletic and
proposals have been made to split it up (rather than lumping the
daughter taxa into Drosophila).  Splitting it up means that Drosophila
melanogaster would move into a separate genus, which upset some people,
prompting a proposal to change the type species of Drosophila to D.
melanogaster (which has upset even more people).  What a mess (I call it
a mess, not a crisis, since I think it can be resolved one way or the
      My own inclination is not to split up Drosophila at all (which
avoids any need to change the type species).  You could have a
paraphyletic Drosophila giving rise to one or more daughter genera, but
unfortunately I am sure strict cladists wouldn't be happy with that.

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