[Taxacom] considerations for erecting (or sinking) higher taxa

Paul Kirk p.kirk at cabi.org
Fri Oct 5 04:04:12 CDT 2012


Users of names outside taxonomy work mainly at the species level (or below). A polyphyletic set of examplars tagged as species within the same genus that could usefully be split, could be split into a series of monophyletic sets by recognizing infrageneric taxa. The down side of this is that for 'non zoologists' - those working in ICNafp space - is the absence of nomenclatural novelties, combinations, with authorship. The up side is that the aforementioned users of names outside taxonomy do not need to learn new names which, other things being equal, IMHO, is mostly a good thing.

Paul
________________________________________
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] on behalf of Stephen Thorpe [stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz]
Sent: 05 October 2012 03:00
To: Ken Kinman; msharkey at uky.edu; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] considerations for erecting (or sinking) higher taxa

It does raise one of the most intractable issues in taxonomy/systematics, i.e. that of lumping/splitting of higher taxa (a different problem than at the species level). My view is that there are far too many genera nowadays. I would collapse whole families (small ones) into single genera. Overly phylogenetically minded people just don't seem to understand that they can still do phylogeny without having to shove it all into a classification. If any higher taxon has fewer than 10 species, and is clearly monophyletic, then it should be a genus, IMHO! If you want to discuss the phylogeny of those 10 or fewer species, then just draw a tree and talk about that ...

Stephen


________________________________
From: Ken Kinman <kinman at hotmail.com>
To: msharkey at uky.edu; "taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Sent: Friday, 5 October 2012 2:49 PM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] considerations for erecting (or sinking) higher taxa


Hi Michael,
          Well, over the years, Ernst Mayr tackled that subject on every taxonomic level from superspecies to Domains and Empires.  You might start with the book by Mayr and Ashlock, 1991 (Principles of Systematic Zoology, 2nd Edition) and references therein.  And for a discussion mainly at higher taxonomic levels (Kingdoms, Phyla, and Classes), try Thomas Cavalier-Smith, 1998 ("A Revised Six-Kingdom System of Life"; Biol. Rev. 73:203-266).  They are both adherents of one criterion in particular (Principle of Balance).  However, I believe Mayr did a better overall job with another pair of criteria (maximizing the stability of names whenever possible, without sacrificing informativeness/utility).
                    ---------------------Ken
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> From: msharkey at uky.edu
> To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Date: Thu, 4 Oct 2012 18:30:29 +0000
> Subject: [Taxacom] considerations for erecting (or sinking) higher taxa
>
> Hello all,
> Does anyone have references to papers that discuss criteria for erecting (or sinking) taxa above the species level. (Besides the obvious monophyly).
> Thanks in advance
> Mike
>
> Michael Sharkey
> Department of Entomology
> University of Kentucky
> Lexington KY 40546-0091
> (859) 257-9364
> msharkey at uky.edu
> www.sharkeylab.org
>
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