[Taxacom] More precise sound bite

John Grehan jgrehan at sciencebuff.org
Fri Mar 27 10:27:06 CDT 2009


Just to disagree with you - you are either a cladist or not. There is no such thing as soft vs strict cladist. Also when it comes to 'obsession' one might say you are as obsessed with your point of view as anyone else might be with there's. As for history, I am not aware that 'history' (I presume you mean evolution) has 'stable classification' as part of its process. And as for fear, well I guess we all fear something.

John Grehan

> -----Original Message-----
> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:taxacom-
> bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Kenneth Kinman
> Sent: Friday, March 27, 2009 11:12 AM
> To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: [Taxacom] More precise sound bite
> Dear All,
>         Well, to be fair to the strict cladists (their
> intentions are good), I would add three words to Paul's sound bite (in
> order to more precisely reflect the real differences):    The denial
> of paraphyly is a denial of "important aspects of" history.
>       They don't really deny history, they are just overly obsessed
> with one aspect (the branching patterns).  There is other important
> information that needs to be reflected in order to produce complete,
> useful, and relatively stable classifications.  As a cladist
> (non-strict), I am also fascinated with more and more synapomorphies and
> dividing the Tree of Life.  HOWEVER, some synapomorphies are far more
> fundamental and important than others, and ranks help us reflect that
> (and ranks also yield classifications that are more balanced).
>           Example:   The separation of ear
> ossicles from the jawbone (between therapsids and mammals) is an
> extremely important step toward the development of acute mammalian
> hearing. It is fortuitous that mammary glands and hair developed along
> this same lineage, but they evolved more gradually (and don't fossilize
> well), so it makes sense to peg the beginning of Class Mammalia on the
> equally important character of ear structure. This is reflected in the
> presence of external ear "pinnae" which gather sound. And the fact that
> mammals' external ears are rarely lost (as in some sea mammals) make
> mammals instantly recognizable. All of this contrasts with the HUGE
> importance strict cladists have attached to the synapsid skull (one
> hole, while diapsids have two), and this gives them an excuse to rip the
> mammal-like reptiles out of Class Reptilia. Their fear of paraphyletic
> taxa results in too much emphasis on some synapomorphies and too little
> on others.  Thus their cladifications lack important information, are
> less useful, and are often less stable.
>                       -------Ken
> Kinman
> ----------------------------------------------
> Paul wrote:
> kennethkinman at webtv.net (Kenneth Kinman) wrote:
>   Conclusion. The most important kinds of complexity, be >they
> structural, or otherwise, are where paraphyletic cuts in >the Tree of
> Life are most useful (to both scholars and lay people).
> To put it in a sound byte: The denial of paraphyly is the denial of
> history.
> -Paul
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