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

Richard Jensen rjensen at saintmarys.edu
Mon Oct 8 07:35:24 CDT 2012


Stephen,

What you suggest is just what pheneticists argued.  Base your 
classification on what you know about the taxa to be classified. Base 
your phylogenies on hypothesized relationships inferred by 
cladistic/evolutionary interpretations.  The former were likely to be 
more stable as new taxa and new data emerged; as we have found, the 
latter are more likely to change under such circumstances.

Cheers,

Dick J


On 10/7/2012 8:41 PM, Stephen Thorpe wrote:
> Note that the discussion here is about the relationship between two distinct things: classification and phylogeny. Assuming that we all want a classification that is congruent with phylogeny (though (ideas of) the latter is highly unstable, which we don't want our classification to be!), the issue is about *how much* phylogeny to stuff into a classification. Phylogeny, at any level of detail, can still be studied independently of classification, so there is no need to try to stuff all of phylogeny into a classification!
>
>
>
> ________________________________
> From: Richard Zander <Richard.Zander at mobot.org>
> To: Paul Kirk <p.kirk at cabi.org>; Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>; Ken Kinman <kinman at hotmail.com>; msharkey at uky.edu; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Sent: Monday, 8 October 2012 1:29 PM
> Subject: RE: [Taxacom] considerations for erecting (or sinking) higher taxa
>
>
> Once upon a time, a taxonomist suggested a simple solution to the problem of naming of higher categories. First, treat all OTUs as part of one species. Analyze into parsimonious groups of trait changes (microevolution) this single species. THEN, point out that parsimony creates a neat dichotomous key, or something like it. Declare this a natural key since it is based on "evolution." Note that the natural key is nested just like a classification. Switch from treating analytically the natural key to one species with microevolutionary changes, to it being a natural key to many species with macroevolutionary changes. Since the classification is right there, eliminate all information that refutes this classification (i.e., paraphyly and embedded high ranks where they should not be). Presto, all is fixed.
>
> Ignore any questions of how macroevolution might have generated groups in nature.
>
> Once upon a time this actually happened.
>
> _____________________
> Richard H. Zander
> Missouri Botanical Garden
> PO Box 299
> St. Louis, MO 63166 U.S.A.
> richard.zander at mobot.org
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu on behalf of Paul Kirk
> Sent: Fri 10/5/2012 4:04 AM
> To: Stephen Thorpe; Ken Kinman; msharkey at uky.edu; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] considerations for erecting (or sinking) higher taxa
>
> 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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-- 
Richard J. Jensen, Professor
Department of Biology
Saint Mary's College
Notre Dame, IN 46556
Tel: 574-284-4674





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