[Taxacom] The future of taxonomy

Richard Zander Richard.Zander at mobot.org
Thu Feb 19 09:54:51 CST 2009

The comment of Ken Kinman, Karl, is, I think, a general comment about attitudes of phylogeneticists towards ancestor-descendant relationships, which their sister-group methodology actually demonstrates quite nicely through the misunderstood phenomenon of "massive homoplasy" on a molecular tree.
You neglected to explain the position of the U.S.-based systematists regarding NOT splitting. Are they in favor of lumping many of the taxa into one monophyletic species to preserve monophyly? Or are they willing to entertain BOTH sister-group and ancestor-descendant relationships in their taxonomy because they are either responsible or have a sense of shame?
Richard H. Zander
Missouri Botanical Garden
PO Box 299
St. Louis, MO 63166 U.S.A.
richard.zander at mobot.org


From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu on behalf of Karl Magnacca
Sent: Thu 2/19/2009 4:32 AM
To: TAXACOM at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] The future of taxonomy

On Thu, February 19, 2009 3:24 am, Kenneth Kinman wrote:
>       Yes, I agree that it is "importunate homage" to strictly cladistic
> nomenclature, and also that wonderful opportunities are therefore being
> missed.  But this is not too surprising given that so much funding
> passes through a few narrow channels in Washington D.C., and "strict
> cladism" has been rewarded for decades through those channels.  Not at
> all surprising that government-backed projects like NCBI, Tree of Life,
> and so on, perpetuate the myth that paraphyly is bad, because those who
> perpetuate it are continually rewarded for doing so.

Considering that nearly all of the people pushing hard to split up
Drosophila are 1) not from or working in the US, and/or 2) not
systematists/phylogeneticists - whereas most of those I know who are
strongly opposed to it are NSF or USDA-funded systematists (along with
many who are not, of course) - this is a remarkably absurd comment.

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