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

Richard Zander Richard.Zander at mobot.org
Tue Jan 27 13:03:10 CST 2009


Sometimes a methodology is so cool that the results should not be
diluted by other methodologies. Tree-thinking and parsimony software
yielded a taxonomy in which any traits that do not help establish a
taxon's position on a cladistic tree are to be ignored. Autapomorphies
associated with many clearly distinct families are thus no longer
taxonomically important. Thus, expect further disappearances of
evolutionarily distinctive families.

But a new paradigm is at hand! The zetetoscope is a new invention that
costs much more than any computer or DNA analyzer. It is presently under
wraps for final testing! Because it tests real differences not just DNA,
only zetetoscopic relationships are now important and you can forget the
old cladistic or phenetic literature completely! A hand-held model for
field use is being developed, but it, too, will be very expensive. For
the nonce, only the elite can afford this equipment, but older
taxonomists can "retool" themselves to prepare for eventual lowering of
prices. Deans are quite enthusiastic about grant proposals that include
the expensive zetetoscope. The only downside is that all families whose
names begin with the letter "G" are not recognized by the zetetoscope
and will be reduced to synonymy with families whose names begin with
"D".

Not.

: )

*****************************
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: Gurcharan Singh-satyam [mailto:singhg at satyam.net.in] 
Sent: Tuesday, January 27, 2009 11:27 AM
To: Richard Zander; Richard Pyle; tdwg at lists.tdwg.org;
Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] [tdwg] Semantic Web: What is a species?

If Genera and families are as real as species, as Zander suggests, then
I 
ask:
"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 
family"

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

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
species.

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
real.

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
Singh-satyam
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"
to
compare species with higher categories (genus, family, etc.) and
infraspecific categories simultaneously.
 True when compared to higher categories species are real as they
provide
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
as
well as exclusion. 





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