[Taxacom] The future of taxonomy

Karl Magnacca kmagnacca at wesleyan.edu
Thu Feb 19 10:36:26 CST 2009

On Thu, February 19, 2009 3:54 pm, Richard Zander wrote:
> The comment of Ken Kinman, Karl, is, I think, a general comment about
> attitudes of phylogeneticists towards ancestor-descendant relationships

No it wasn't, it said that those attitudes (real or perceived) are the
result of researchers getting funding through a small clique of rather
conspiratorial-sounding cladists in US government science agencies.  A
very similar argument, incidentally, to that promoted by global warming

> 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?

I can only speak for myself (I would consider myself US-based even
though I'm not currently there), but neither I nor most of those I know
hold as dogmatic a position as you seem to ascribe to "cladists".  I
would always say to do what's best for identification.  If you can't
tell the groups apart, there's no point in splitting them apart.  At the
same time, there's little value in erecting genera for every unusual
derived species or group; one could likely get 100 genera out of
Drosophila that way.  For Drosophila specifically, I don't think there's
anything to be gained by doing anything until there is solid evidence
and a subfamily-level revision.

Karl Magnacca
Postdoctoral Researcher
Department of Zoology
Trinity College, Dublin 2

More information about the Taxacom mailing list