[Taxacom] Integrative taxonomy

Bob Mesibov mesibov at southcom.com.au
Sat Jul 31 22:47:26 CDT 2010

Hi, Stephen.

"As long as we all have to work within the same (ICZN/ICBN) system, there is some hope ..."

We already have DNA-only species appearing within that system, sometimes invalidly (that African lizards paper this year). The danger is that the two independent and reciprocally antagonistic streams of research *within* this Code system will separate entirely, or will fission into a traditional, Code-based system and a new, non-Code molecular system, both vying for attention from 'end-users' of taxonomy.

One stream (the one you favour) ignores DNA-only evidence and complains that molecular taxonomists haven't a clue about the real world outside their labs. The other stream is suspicious of anything other than hard genetic evidence for lineage separation. One stream is slow, badly funded and reliant on the accumulation of knowledge and experience over many years. The other stream is fast, well funded and reliant on nothing but data that a complete nitwit can generate overnight.

Which stream will generate more species faster? Which will get more attention and 'usage'?

I get the feeling you'd prefer to ignore molecular taxonomy entirely. If not, perhaps you could suggest a way to integrate it with traditional taxonomy other than the way suggested in the FIZ article.
Dr Robert Mesibov
Honorary Research Associate
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, and
School of Zoology, University of Tasmania
Home contact: PO Box 101, Penguin, Tasmania, Australia 7316
03 64371195; 61 3 64371195
Webpage: http://www.qvmag.tas.gov.au/?articleID=570

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