[Taxacom] [tdwg] Semantic Web: What is a species?

Gurcharan Singh-satyam singhg at satyam.net.in
Tue Jan 27 11:26:42 CST 2009

If Genera and families are as real as species, as Zander suggests, then I 
"Why is Asclepiadaceae merged with Apocynaceae by most authors, and treated 
distinct by others? I have to labour a lot to convince my students who ask 
me justification of not recognising Asclepiadaceae with pollinia, translator 
mechanism, gynostegium, monodelphous stamens and much more as distinct 

"Why do authors differ in treatment of Caparaceae, Grewiaceae and 

Why  do authors differ in merger or separate identity of Liliaceae, 
Alloiaceae and Amaryllidaceae?

The list could be endless. Fortunately we have neglegible such discrepancies 
in species recognition. Even the advocators of Taxonomic species concept, 
Biological concept and Evolutionary species concept, who appear to be 
working with different parameters, tend to circumscribe the same set of 
populations in a particular

Gurcharan Singh
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Richard Zander" <Richard.Zander at mobot.org>
To: "Gurcharan Singh-satyam" <singhg at satyam.net.in>; "Richard Pyle" 
<deepreef at bishopmuseum.org>; <tdwg at lists.tdwg.org>; 
<Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Sent: Monday, January 26, 2009 9:02 PM
Subject: RE: [Taxacom] [tdwg] Semantic Web: What is a species?

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

Maybe not real like the table between two beer drinkers, who hear each
others glass thump when they put it down, but more real than the stories
they tell each other.

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 Gurcharan
Sent: Saturday, January 24, 2009 10:22 PM
To: Richard Pyle; tdwg at lists.tdwg.org; Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] [tdwg] Semantic Web: What is a species?

The discussion on species could be endless, but I think it is "unreal"
compare species with higher categories (genus, family, etc.) and
infraspecific categories simultaneously.
 True when compared to higher categories species are real as they
you first hand information from material, are not depedent on other
categories (in great majority of cases, where there are no infraspecific

taxa), and unlike higher categories are nonarbitrary to both inclusion
well as exclusion. 

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