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

Frederick W Schueler bckcdb at istar.ca
Tue Jan 27 13:23:13 CST 2009

Gurcharan Singh-satyam wrote:
> If Genera and families are as real as species, as Zander suggests, then I 
> ask: ...

> 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.

* it hasn't been clear to me, in the course of this sub-thread, whether 
it's about the "reality" of the higher and lower (="populations") 
Aristotelian categories compared with the 'reality' of species, of the 
assignment of taxa to these categories ("Genus Elliptio," "Family 
Amaryllidaceae") or of the mono/para-phyletic taxa that are or aren't 
assigned to the categories.

An example is "higher categories evolve." Does this mean that a genus 
can "become" a family? And if so is it by adaptive radiation or by 
taxonomic antics? "Higher taxa evolve" can make sense in Gould's sense 
of selection among species or selection among modes of speciation, but I 
think categories can evolve only in terms of systematic history: "The 
family has become much more genus-like since Linnaeus time."

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           Frederick W. Schueler & Aleta Karstad
        RR#2 Bishops Mills, Ontario, Canada K0G 1T0
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