[Taxacom] The future of taxonomy

Stephen Gaimari SGaimari at cdfa.ca.gov
Thu Feb 19 11:13:08 CST 2009

To directly address the second paragraph, the position (regarding Drosophila melanogaster) is far more simple than the scenarios of what "they" are in favor of, or willing to entertain, etc. This is entirely an issue of nomenclature, not phylogenetics at all. The defining principles of nomenclature are completely independent of scientific opinions of relationships among taxa. However, phylogenetic opinions are being used to *try* to disrupt a perfectly stable nomenclatural situation. Nomenclature does not follow the phylogenetic-opinion-du-jour. Nomenclature doesn't care whether you lump, split, preserve monophyly, or accept paraphyly, and it doesn't care who is the sister-group or who shares the ancestor-descendant relationship, or whether there is massive homoplasy.  
Dr. Stephen D. Gaimari
Program Supervisor (Entomology) &
Co-Curator, California State Collection of Arthropods

Plant Pest Diagnostics Lab
California Department of Food and Agriculture
3294 Meadowview Road
Sacramento, CA 95832-1448, USA

916-262-1131 (tel.)
916-262-1190 (fax)
sgaimari at cdfa.ca.gov 

>>> "Richard Zander" <Richard.Zander at mobot.org> 2/19/2009 7:54 AM >>>
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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