[Taxacom] Fading role of traditional taxonomists

John Grehan jgrehan at sciencebuff.org
Tue Jun 2 13:32:27 CDT 2009


It remains to be demonstrated that cladistics can be blamed for the
decline in taxonomy and systematics.

As for combining with molecular analysis - if that is incumbent upon all
molecular practitioners then perhaps that would be fair. If, however,
comparative morphology is an independent science providing "evolutionary
connections", then molecular analysis of relationships is moot because
if they agree then fine, and if they disagree then so what?

John Grehan
 

> -----Original Message-----
> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:taxacom-
> bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Richard Zander
> Sent: Tuesday, June 02, 2009 1:50 PM
> To: Mario Blanco; TAXACOM
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Fading role of traditional taxonomists
> 
> I think there are some specific problems that may be addressed that
may
> alleviate the "dying out" of taxonomy.
> 
> It is the COMBINATION of molecular analysis (tracking genetic lineages
> and isolation events but not necessarily speciation events) and
natural
> taxa (in Darwin's sense of genealogy plus differences, coupled with
all
> aspects of biology including biogeography, chromosome counts, syn and
> autecology, chemistry, whatever, being a rational, consolidation of an
> evolutionary trajectory through time in space) that provides advances
in
> systematics (molecular analysis providing evolutionary connections,
and
> "traditional" taxonomy providing that which evolves along those
> connections).
> 
> Not genealogy alone. Strict phylogenetic monophyly is a ticking bomb
in
> the heart of phylogenetics. It leads to:
> 
> 1. The inability to identify organisms, particularly from expressed
> traits important in evolution.
> 
> 2. Increasing reliance on an artificial classification (holophyly),
> which has got to alienate all rational biologists except
> phylogeneticists (whose methods only generate information on
> sister-group relationships as far as they are concerned).
> 
> If classification by holophyly is not soon identified as a shuck and
> abandoned, I give systematics five years before there are no students
> and the rest of us give up.
> 
> *****************************
> 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
> Non-post deliveries to:
> Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63110
> *****************************
> 
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Mario Blanco
> Sent: Tuesday, June 02, 2009 11:56 AM
> To: TAXACOM
> Subject: [Taxacom] Fading role of traditional taxonomists
> 
> I know this topic is familiar with most members of this forum, but
here
> is a link to a recent article about it in The Scientist, with some
> interesting data on the performance of the PEET program:
> 
> http://www.the-scientist.com/2009/06/1/32/1/
> 
> 
> 
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