[Taxacom] RES: Why Taxonomy does NOT matter

Vitor Fernandes O. de Miranda vmiranda at fcav.unesp.br
Wed May 4 07:46:14 CDT 2011

Hi Mary,

I agree with most you´d written.
The idea of a "finished knowledge" to taxonomical works it´s a very common
issue. But I think it is not exclusive to taxonomy, indeed also to other
Once I had a proposal to a systematic and morphology study refused with the
main argument that "a systematic study to the taxa had already been done and
published". What?? So, do we already know everything about the group? Is not
important other studies to the matter? It's just astonishing. 

Perhaps we, as professors, could contribute to dismount this spurious
notion, beginning to our students (if they had it). It may be a good start.

Best wishes,

-----Mensagem original-----
De: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] Em nome de Mary Barkworth
Enviada em: quarta-feira, 4 de maio de 2011 09:20
Para: Donat Agosti; 'Fabian Haas'; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Assunto: Re: [Taxacom] Why Taxonomy does NOT matter

I think this was touched on earlier but just in case: Taxonomy is often
presented, in other disciplines but also taxonomic presentations, as a done
deal. This organisms is called this. Learn to recognize on sight this list
of 50 species. Or, "here is a list of the species found in this area".  If
there has been a change in name, this may be presented as some arbitrary
decision. Possibly in our presentations and in making resources available,
we need to place greater emphasis on the limits of what we know. This is not
always what people want to hear. Then again, perhaps it does not matter.
Bread wheat is bread wheat; rice is rice (until a change in cultivation
results in introgression from a weedy cousin - but that is agriculture, not
taxonomy).  If an ant stings me, do I care what species it is? Will I know
that a species has gone extinct? Will preventing loss of biodiversity affect
climate change - or should we invest in inexpensive mechanisms for improving
the efficiency of cooking fuels?


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