[Taxacom] Call for proxy votes for the forthcomingInternational Bot. Congr.

Richard Zander Richard.Zander at mobot.org
Thu Jul 7 10:25:37 CDT 2011

Again, the problem is in taxonomic and evolutionary definitions, not
nomenclature. (Somebody quick publish a list of hundreds of new
combinations in Vacellia or Racosperma and fix this.)

There is no difference between phylogenetic paraphyly and phylogenetic
polyphyly. You have to DEMONSTRATE that two clades are not derived from
the same ancestral taxon, and cladograms never demonstrate this.
Repeating "polyphyly" (or "shared ancestor" or "monophyletic" or "traits
evolve") does not clarify anything, but instead "every such phrase
anaesthetises a portion of one's brain." (Orwell, Politics and the
English Language).


* * * * * * * * * * * *
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: Wednesday, July 06, 2011 9:58 PM
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Call for proxy votes for the
forthcomingInternational Bot. Congr.

Dear All,
      From what I have read in this thread and a quick perusal of the
literature, the decisions made at the Vienna Congress seem to make sense
in this case for the long-term stability of mimosoid taxonomy.  Adopting
Vachellia for the smaller genus seems the less disruptive and least
confusing option.  Changing all the names for the large Australian genus
to Racosperma is not only problematic because of the larger numbers of
species (or their importance to commerce, etc), but that it would also
require a lot of changes in the specific names as well (as the gender of
the name Racosperma is different).            
       And although I am a defender of certain paraphyletic taxa, this
is not one of them, mainly because Acacia was POLYPHYLETIC, not
paraphyletic.  It was Tribe Mimoseae that actually turned out to be
paraphyletic.  To keep a broader Acacia, one would have dump all the
genera of Tribe Ingeae into Acacia (plus some genera of Tribe Mimoseae
as well).  This would no doubt be even more destabilizing than splitting
the polyphyletic Acacia.  
       So I would say that the decision of 2005 should stand.  And
trying to change the rules after the fact sounds like "sour grapes"
and/or the perception that the Australians shoved this down the throats
of the Vienna Congress (either way it seems "ad hoc" and not a very good
        ------My two cents worth,
                           Ken Kinman

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