[Taxacom] Animalia or Metazoa?

Stephen Thorpe s.thorpe at auckland.ac.nz
Fri Jul 24 18:40:42 CDT 2009

Ken: you might just be missing a point I tried to make earlier, i.e.,  
an excess of Google hits for Metazoa might be due to the fact that  
even those of us who prefer to use kingdom Animalia still recognise a  
subkingdom Metazoa. So you need to subtract hits for "subkingdom  
Metazoa" from hits for "Metazoa", or even "kingdom Metazoa", since  
"kingdom Metazoa" is a substring of "subkingdom Metazoa", so a search  
for the former should also pick up hits for the latter. However, my  
plan was thwarted when I discovered more hits for "subkingdom Metazoa"  
(11,100) than for "kingdom Metazoa" (10,400)! Google obviously doesn't  
search using the algorithm I thought it did!!! Also:
[Ken] leaves us without a good name for that broader Protozoa +  
Metazoa grouping
[reply] that's because the "broader grouping" is diphyletic, and some  
would argue that we don't need "good names" for non-monophyletic  
groupings. There is no reason why the name Animalia can't be used in  
exactly the same sense as Metazoa, so it is no more or less precise ...
Use of Metazoa merely alienates the general public, who at least have  
some understanding of what an animal is...


Quoting Kenneth Kinman <kennethkinman at webtv.net>:

> Stephen and Tony,
>       Well, I think a more relevant use of Google might be to search
> Google Scholar.  Doing that we get less than 26,000 hits for Animalia,
> while we get over 39,000 hits for Metazoa.  That gives us a much broader
> view than just quoting Margulis or Whitaker (who do not represent the
> majority of scholars by this test). Therefore, the popularity (usage)
> criterion is a draw, most scholars seem to prefer Metazoa, while the
> broader population seems to gravitate more toward Animalia.
>       So it is more a question of semantics and/or precision.  The name
> Metazoa refers to a precise clade which almost everyone agrees contains
> sponges plus eumetazoans (precise content), and the name Metazoa means
> "higher animals" (literally precise).
>        Animalia (animals) literally refers to organisms which "breathe"
> (get energy from respiration), as opposed to organisms which generally
> get their energy directly from photosynthesis.  Most protozoans have
> mitochondria and therefore perform respiration, and are therefore
> literally animals.  And as a more practical matter, if you use Animalia
> as a synonym of Metazoa, it leaves us without a good name for that
> broader Protozoa + Metazoa grouping (both of which use respiration).
> Perhaps that's yet another reason that a majority of scholars prefer
> Metazoa.
>          -------Ken Kinman
> _______________________________________________
> Taxacom Mailing List
> Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
> The Taxacom archive going back to 1992 may be searched with either  
> of these methods:
> (1) http://taxacom.markmail.org
> Or (2) a Google search specified as:   
> site:mailman.nhm.ku.edu/pipermail/taxacom  your search terms here

This message was sent using IMP, the Internet Messaging Program.

More information about the Taxacom mailing list