[Taxacom] "Classification of Life" in Wikispecies

Chuck Miller Chuck.Miller at mobot.org
Mon Dec 13 12:21:11 CST 2010

The great thing about WikiPedia/Species is that if you don't like it or
agree with it, just change it.  Freedom reigns at WikiMedia! Everyone
and anyone is free to change anything on WikiPedia/Species.  So, jump in
there and amend it to use Mayr.

Of course, anybody else is free to change it again, and again, and


-----Original Message-----
From: Kenneth Kinman [mailto:kennethkinman at webtv.net] 
Sent: Sunday, December 12, 2010 10:28 PM
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: [Taxacom] "Classification of Life" in Wikispecies

Dear All,
       Tonight I decided to look at the broad classification of Life (on
Earth) presented at Wikispecies.  It is frankly a fairly nice compromise
(given all the more split classifications of life now out there):
Superregnum Archaea
Superregnum Bacteria
Superregnum Eukaryota 
     Regnum Protista
     Regnum Fungi
     Regnum Plantae
     Regnum Ani]malia
Virus (classification still unclear)            
       I very much like their division of Superregnum Eukaryota.  The
basal Regnum Protista is clearly paraphyletic with respect to the other
three.  Animalia is equivalent to my Metazoa, so I certainly won't
quibble with which name they happen to choose.  Plantae is a little
broader than Metaphyta, but it is still more restricted than
Cavalier-Smith's Plantae (which includes red algae etc.), so I won't
quibble with that compromise.           
       However, since the Wikispecies classification obviously allows
paraphyly (such as Protista), it would be a FAR more useful
classification if they recognized one paraphyletic Superregnum
Prokaryota (instead of separate Superregna Archaea, Bacteria, and
Virus).  Then they would have just Superregnum Prokaryota and
Superregnum Eukaryota (equivalent to Ernst Mayr's two Empires with the
same names).  All they have to do is trust Ernst Mayr more than they
trust Carl Woese.  As Mayr argued in his debate with Woese, the
prokaryote to eukaryote transition was clearly the most fundamental jump
(gap) in the evolution of life.  Otherwise, we wouldn't be here to
debate the subject.             
    ----Ken Kinman, cladistically a member of:          
              Family Hominidae    
              paraphyletic Family Pongidae% (great apes)
              Order Primates
              Class Mammalia
              Phylum Chordata             
              Kingdom Metazoa (= Animalia)
              paraphyletic Kingdom Protista%
              Regnum/Empire Eukaryota    
              paraphyletic Regnum/Empire Prokaryota%

P.S.  Look at the above.  I classify myself with only three major (and
very useful) paraphylies since the origin of life.  The first
(prokaryote to eukaryote) transition is clearly the most fundamental.
The second (protist to metazoan) is less fundamental (but still
extremely important due to multicellularity and other developments).
The third is least important, since it was perhaps only fortuitous that
bipedality, increased brain size, and sophisticated tool use led to us
humans.  NOTE:  frankly I sometimes wonder if I (and the world in
general) would have been better off if dolphins had become bipedal
tool-users instead of apes.  QUESTION:  would there then have been
examples like Adolph Hitler, Saddam Hussein, or Bernie Madoff among
highly-evolved dolphins???

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