[Taxacom] Hatfields and McCoys (was: Phylocriminetics)

Richard Zander Richard.Zander at mobot.org
Sun Jan 2 12:09:21 CST 2011


Your evaluation of cladistic classifications is naturally more sympathetic than mine, since I focus on the horrible and recommend revolution. To mix proverbs, we must grasp the nettle or fall between two stools.

My beef is mainly with the practice of using sister-group analysis alone in gauging evolution of the group prior to creating an "evolutionary" classification. In many cases the classification does not reflect any sensible evaluation of the data.

Of course there are fine taxonomists who use sister-group analysis plus other data to create good classifications in lots of respects. I only suggest that, to the extent they rely on the principle of holophyly in classification, they are cutting corners by short-changing and thus misrepresenting science.

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Richard H. Zander 
Missouri Botanical Garden, PO Box 299, St. Louis, MO 63166-0299 USA 
Web sites: http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/resbot/ and http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/bfna/bfnamenu.htm
Modern Evolutionary Systematics Web site: http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/resbot/21EvSy.htm

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