[Taxacom] Paraphyletic species and paraphyletic higher taxa

Richard Jensen rjensen at saintmarys.edu
Tue Dec 14 12:43:15 CST 2010

So, we're back to authority - I imagine (perhaps hypothesize) a 
phylogenetic group and my preferred method of classification yields that 
group, thus my method is phylogenetically accurate?  Or, do I know ahead 
of time that my preferred method will yield accurate phylogenetic groups?

Besides, just because my analysis suggests that group A is a 
monophyletic, that doesn't mean it really is.  Just that the data on 
hand suggest it is.  By what criterion do I know that the reconstruction 
is accurate?

Dick J

On 12/14/2010 1:16 PM, John Grehan wrote:
> Accurate in the sense that it denotes a phylogenetic group.
> If the goal of constructing groups is to represent groups comprising all
> descendants of a unique common ancestor then that ability would be
> considered useful. If the goal of constructing groups is something else
> then presumably usefulness would be defined in some other way.
> John Grehan
> -----Original Message-----
> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Richard Jensen
> Sent: Tuesday, December 14, 2010 1:10 PM
> To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Paraphyletic species and paraphyletic higher taxa
> John Grehan wrote:
> "But the group would not be phylogenetically informative or accurate."
> I don't know how we can assess phylogenetic accuracy - accuracy implies
> no error, or meeting a specified standard.  Given that we cannot know
> what the real phylogeny is, what standard is used to determine accuracy?
> We also have to ask ourselves what we want the recognized group to
> convey.  That is, there is a notion of usefulness connected with any
> classification and while we may wish our classifications to be useful as
> explanations of phylogeny, we may also wish them to be useful for making
> predictions.  These two aspects of usefulness are not necessarily
> congruent.
> Dick J
> On 12/14/2010 12:49 PM, John Grehan wrote:
>> But the group would not be
>> phylogenetically informative or accurate.

Richard J. Jensen, Professor
Department of Biology
Saint Mary's College
Notre Dame, IN 46556
Tel: 574-284-4674

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