[Taxacom] Reptilia (and Hominidae)

Richard Zander Richard.Zander at mobot.org
Tue Mar 17 09:54:39 CDT 2009

I think the object of modern classification is to maximize useful,
predictive information, with the assumption that including evolutionary
relationships provides such useful, predictive information. 

We could have a sister-group cladogram, and an ancestor-descendant
Besseyan cactus, and a classification, which could be alphabetical or
anything. The trick is to introduce evolution into the classification
without damaging its general usefulness across science. Many of us use
alphabetic systems to store specimens, but this specialist useage is not
helpful to other fields. Maximizing useful, predictive information is
the specialty of systematists, and limiting it to sister-group
relationships is not a service to science in general but, like
alphabetic classifications, is useful only to phylogeneticists, who
study sister-group relationships.

What is needed is are classification that are generally useful and
maximize all evolutionary information. It is not up to phylogeneticists
to provide this if they just won't do so. Evolutionary taxonomists need
to write these classifications. Yes, we can.

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

-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of
Don.Colless at csiro.au
Sent: Tuesday, March 17, 2009 2:17 AM
To: humphries at mail.utexas.edu; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Reptilia (and Hominidae)

Can anyone explain to me why we cannot have both an evolutionary history
(or a cladogram) AND a classification?

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