[Taxacom] Semantic Web: What is a species?

Thomas Pape TPape at snm.ku.dk
Mon Jan 26 13:04:21 CST 2009


Richard Zander wrote:
>Gould (in his "Foundations") provides a summary of thinking that
>supports the idea that higher categories evolve and may be treated
>evolutionarily like individuals. Genera and families are then rather
>real.

Yes, higher taxa may be very real indeed. Read for example Norm
Platnick's "From Cladograms to Classifications: The Road to DePhylocode"
(http://www.systass.org/archive/events-archive/2001/platnick.pdf).

This reality does not, however, mean that higher taxa are able to
evolve. Evolution requires that something is being non-perfectly
replicated with subsequent differential 'survival'. Higher taxa may
become extinct, but they do not have the capacity to replicate.

/Thomas Pape
Natural History Museum of Denmark





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