[Taxacom] Species monophyly!
J. Kirk Fitzhugh
kfitzhugh at nhm.org
Fri Feb 5 20:05:06 CST 2010
I wholly agree with you - monophyly is an irrelevant concept in this
instance. That simply goes without saying!
Along the lines of your argument, what has to be recognized is that
species hypotheses are inferred from theories that are not entirely the
same as those used to infer phylogenetic hypotheses. To his credit,
Hennig (1966) discussed at length seven of the different classes of
hypotheses often employed in biological systematics (cf. his oft
reproduced Fig. 6). It's obvious that inferences to these different
classes of hypotheses are by way of different sets of theories. Little
wonder that Hennig only spoke of monophyly as it applied to particular
Stephen Thorpe wrote:
> I would try to argue that you are correct, species aren't individuals, but nevertheless the concept of monophyly is still inapplicable to them. I agree that species are nothing more than a literal family tree of individuals with various relations of kin and similarity to each other. My argument would be something along the lines of this: whatever species are, the concept of monophyly arose from the desire to classify those species in a "natural" (=nonarbitrary, =nonsubjective) way. Species are to be classified into monophyletic groups (of species). But to apply the concept of monophyly to species themselves, although possible, is "changing the game", and has nothing to do with the task in hand. You could try to argue on independent grounds that only monophyletic species are "natural", and therefore to be preferred for the same reasons as "natural" classifications, but if many of the best known species in the world turn out to be paraphyletic (which could happen), and a monophyletic species concept leads to widespread non-recognition of well-known species on morphological grounds (which it might do), then we effectively kiss goodbye to the idea of species as originally envisaged, and I don't see that as a worthwhile thing to do. As an abstract example, imagine A, B, C as markedly and equally morphologically differentiated allopatric species. Maybe C evolved from a subpopulation of B, while A is sister to both. This would force you to call B and C the same species, which just seems WRONG! Given that many species are only known from one or a few specimens from which DNA cannot be extracted, not to mention all the fossil species, I don't think we want to say that the morphology could be leading us so far astray ... A lion is a lion, and a tiger is a tiger, regardless of how the speciation occurred ...
> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of J. Kirk Fitzhugh [kfitzhugh at nhm.org]
> Sent: Saturday, 6 February 2010 2:24 p.m.
> To: TAXACOM
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Species monophyly!
> This requires buying into Rieppel's conception of species. Something I
> deny (cf. Fitzhugh, K. 2009. Species as explanatory hypotheses:
> refinements and implications. Acta Biotheoretica 57: 201-248. See also
> Stamos' "The Species Problem").
> Species aren't individuals. If they were, then we'd not be reacting to
> organisms by inferring what can only be regarded as explanatory
> hypotheses, aka species and other taxa. Instead, we'd be speaking of the
> properties of species, which we can't and don't.
> J. Kirk Fitzhugh, Ph.D.
> Curator of Polychaetes
> Invertebrate Zoology Section
> Research & Collections Branch
> Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
> 900 Exposition Blvd
> Los Angeles CA 90007
> Phone: 213-763-3233
> FAX: 213-746-2999
> e-mail: kfitzhug at nhm.org
> Stephen Thorpe wrote:
>> This is remarkably similar to what I was arguing on Taxacom a while ago:
>> Rieppel, O. 2010: Species monophyly. Journal of zoological systematics and evolutionary research, 48: 1-8. doi<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_object_identifier>: 10.1111/j.1439-0469.2009.00545.x<http://dx.doi.org/10.1111%2Fj.1439-0469.2009.00545.x>
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