[Taxacom] Usefulness vs convenicence (Protista)

Kenneth Kinman kennethkinman at webtv.net
Tue Dec 21 20:33:23 CST 2010

Hi Richard,
      Thanks for the answer to my first question, which clarified what
you meant.  I would also be interested in clarification on the other
point I raised (about whether or not paraphyletic groups are strictly
synchronic). Especially as it might relate to another posting in which
you said that all paraphyletic taxa are unnatural (which I found rather
                          Ken Kinman              

Richard Zander wrote: 
     Okay, Ken: By mish-mash I meant that, because nobody involved in
the present discussion is a pure ideologue, we mix phylogeny-speak with
evolution-speak. In one sentence one of us may say "((ab)c)" and in the
next "b is a peripatric puppy". It is totally true that phylogenetic
clustering is valuable information, but the apple vs orange occurs when
the interpretation of the cluster nesting ENDS in classification versus
when the interpretation of a theory from the cluster (when one is
available, which it often is) ends in classification. We use the highly
supported cluster pattern when it is important to emphasize the high
support, rocket science, and sneak in theory when no phylogeneticist
higher on the social scale is looking.  
* * * * * * * * * * * * 
Richard H. Zander 
Missouri Botanical Garden, PO Box 299, St. Louis, MO 63166-0299 USA Web
sites: http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/resbot/ and
Modern Evolutionary Systematics Web site:
-----Original Message----- 
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:taxacom-bounces at
mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Kenneth Kinman 
Sent: Monday, December 20, 2010 9:35 PM 
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu 
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Usefulness vs convenience (Protista) 
Hi Richard, 
        You seem to be saying that my classifications
(like the one for Kingdom Protista) are like a "mish-mash of apples and
oranges", and if so, could you clarify what you mean by mish-mash? Using
words more precise than mish-mash, how would you characterize such
eclectic classifications.   Unnatural? or Natural (but arbitrary)?, or
some other combination of adjectives?         
       As for a paraphyletic group being merely a synchronic
(present-day) view, and I'm not sure I would totally agree with that, I
don't think this is that big of a problem (especially for higher ranked
paraphyletic taxa). The 5 generally-recognized Kingdoms of life were
well-established and fairly well-diversified by the beginning of the
Carboniferous, so if I were living then instead of now, I would have
still recognized a paraphyletic Kingdom Protista with three exgroup
Kingdoms. The youngest Kingdom (Metaphyta) would have been less diverse
than today (since angiosperms hadn't evolved), but it would have still
been diverse enough to merit 3 phyla (Bryophyta, Pteridophyta, and
Spermatophyta), and the fourth Phylum Magnoliophyta (angiosperms) would
have been rather diverse by the Cretaceous. 
      And Classes Mammalia and Aves were already fairly
diverse by the end of the Cretaceous, so a paraphyletic Reptilia was
already justifiable by that point. Of course, much of the diversity of
Mammalia and Aves at that time has not yet been found in the fossil
record, and much of that diversity was wiped out by the end-Cretaceous
extinction, with the surviving taxa reradiating into new taxa in the
Paleocene and Eocene. Aves is younger than Mammalia, but still had a lot
of enantiornithean-type diversity in the Cretaceous (which then went
extinct, and replaced by a radiation of the neornithine survivors in
Paleocene and Eocene). 
        So I don't think one is being merely synchronic
(present-day view only) if the exgroups to Kingdom Protista were diverse
by the beginning of the Carboniferous and the exgroups to Class Reptilia
were diverse by the Cretaceous.  Or perhaps I am misinterpreting what
you meant that paraphyletic taxa are synchronic (present-day only)? 

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