[Taxacom] Phylogenetic Classification?

John Grehan jgrehan at sciencebuff.org
Mon Jul 27 09:53:24 CDT 2009

I should have read Lammers' email closer. Apologies. So cladistics is
accepted for reconstructing evolutionary history - presumably in terms
of theorized genealogical relationships? 

Using the term paraphylophobia may imply that the avoidance of labeling
paraphyletic groups is irrational. Maybe it is, maybe it is not. Maybe
there are no rational correspondents on this list. Maybe it does not

I for one would never say that a paraphyletic group is meaningless, just
that its meaning in terms of evolutionary history is different from
monophyletic assemblages. I regularly refer to 'great apes' as an
assemblage of Pongo, Pan, and Gorilla, but I would not bother to create
a 'great ape' group in phylogenetic classification.

Just because something is 'useful' does not necessarily make it
scientifically valid. Plenty of people still find centers of origin
useful, or areas of endemism useful. Whether such concepts have an
evolutionary reality is another matter.

John Grehan

> -----Original Message-----
> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:taxacom-
> bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Thomas G. Lammers
> Sent: Monday, July 27, 2009 9:28 AM
> To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Phylogenetic Classification?
> At 08:08 AM 7/27/2009, John Grehan wrote:
> >What is the scientific dogma of classification (and phylogeny) that
> >follow?
> A loaded question.  I follow no dogma.  Dogma is anathema to science.
> I have no problem with cladistic methodologies for
> reconstructing/inferring
> evolutionary history.  Best tool available for that job.
> My quarrel is with the way in which the results of phylogenetic
> is
> applied to classification, specifically paraphylophobia.  To state
> paraphyletic groups are meaningless is an a priori assumption not
> supported
> by subsequent examination of the data.  Good science does not come to
> conclusion first (e.g., Paraphyly Is Bad) before examining the data.
> data suggest that many paraphyletic groups are quite useful for
> classification purposes.
> Thomas G. Lammers, Ph.D.
> Associate Professor and Curator of the Herbarium (OSH)
> Department of Biology and Microbiology
> 800 Algoma Blvd.
> University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
> Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54901-8640 USA
> e-mail:       lammers at uwosh.edu
> phone:      920-424-1002
> fax:           920-424-1101
> Plant systematics; classification, nomenclature, evolution, and
> biogeography of the Campanulaceae s. lat.
> Webpages:
> http://www.uwosh.edu/departments/biology/Lammers.htm
> http://www.uwosh.edu/departments/biology/herbarium/herbarium.html
> http://www.ratemyprofessors.com/ShowRatings.jsp?tid=297234
> http://www.mbgpress.info/index.php?task=id&id=90602
> http://www.kewbooks.com/asps/ShowDetails.asp?id=615
> http://www.geocities.com/TheTropics/Resort/7156/lammers.html
> -----------------------------------------------------------
> "Today's mighty oak is yesterday's nut that stood his ground."
>                                                                --
> Anonymous
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