[Taxacom] Pteridophyta

Jim Croft jim.croft at gmail.com
Fri Jul 24 23:33:14 CDT 2009

Wrong guy Ken - I *am* one of the 'heaps of people' - as proof, I
offer personal descriptions of taxa in two of the unrelated
'pteridophyte' clades and collection and curation of thousands of
specimens in all of the others.  That is what 'pteridologists' do -
not because it makes sense, but because it 'just feels right'. The
fact that the groups are *really* not all that closely related after
all does not worry me; it is equally interesting that the combination
of vascular tissue, reproduction by spores and separate alternating
generations, etc. may have got there by different roots.

When someone utters the name 'Pteridophyta', most people have an idea
what they are talking about, so in that respect it is not meaningless.
 But to use the same handle as a statement of origins, relatedness and
connectedness it is not only uninformative, it is misleading.
Communication is all about context.

More than happy to include flowering plants as aberrant pteridophyte
mutations - we're all about tolerance and acceptance here... (going to
draw the line at fungi though, Paul - you've got to at least nod in
the direction of chlorophyll - and kidnapping algae doesn't fool

As for labeling someone who has never made or published a cladistic
pronouncement in his life a 'cladistic propagandist' and purveyor of
cladistic hogwash...  Well, I will have to take that one on notice...


On Sat, Jul 25, 2009 at 1:30 PM, Kenneth Kinman<kennethkinman at webtv.net> wrote:
> Hi Jim,
>      Phylogenetically the taxon Phylum Pteridophyta is indeed not a
> single clade, but to call it "meaningless" just because it is
> paraphyletic is frankly just another case of strictly cladistic hogwash
> and propaganda.  You call people wrong to consider Pteridophyta a good
> taxon in which to express their interest.  But those "heaps of people"
> would consider you equally wrong in criticizing them for studying a
> paraphyletic taxon just because it happens to exclude that taxon's
> spermatophyte descendants.
>       Consider the fact that before spermatophytes evolved,
> pteridophytes were the only tracheophytes in existence.  In other words,
> pteridophytes were a clade before one of them happened to give rise to
> spermatophytes.  Therefore it is hardly a meaningless taxon.  It is
> really no different than criticizing people who specialize in studying
> reptiles just because Reptilia happens to be paraphyletic.
>        --------Ken Kinman
> --------------------------------------------------------------
> Jim Croft wrote:
> There are heaps of people around the world who profess an interest in
> 'pteridophytes', even 'Pteridophyta'.  Even though based on compelling
> evidence, it seems to be phylogenetically quite meaningless, dare I say
> 'wrong', to do so.  But, as a concept it is meaningful to them in their
> context.
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Jim Croft ~ jim.croft at gmail.com ~ +61-2-62509499 ~

... in pursuit of the meaning of leaf ...

... 'All is leaf' ('Alles ist Blatt') - Goethe

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