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

Richard Zander Richard.Zander at mobot.org
Thu Oct 11 13:40:24 CDT 2012


Phylogeny IS classification. That is my point. And it is commonly wrong.


 

There is no effort to interpret how the dichotomous "tree" or
dichotomous key was generated by accepted theories of macroevolution,
and the key is immediately made into a classification because the groups
are nested. Classification is nesting.

 

Suppose taxon A generates descendants B and C. Depending on which
descendant is generated first, the classification is either (A,B)C or
(A,C)B, molecularly. No process is recognized in phylogenetics, just
forcing nested results of phylogenetic analysis into a classification
(using strict monophyly if classical taxonomy disagrees).

 

____________________________
Richard H. Zander
Missouri Botanical Garden, PO Box 299, St. Louis, MO 63166-0299 USA  
Web sites: http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/resbot/
<http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/resbot/>  and
http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/bfna/bfnamenu.htm
<http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/bfna/bfnamenu.htm> 
Modern Evolutionary Systematics Web site:
http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/resbot/21EvSy.htm
<http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/resbot/21EvSy.htm> 
UPS and FedExpr -  MBG, 4344 Shaw Blvd, St. Louis 63110 USA

________________________________

From: Stephen Thorpe [mailto:stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz] 
Sent: Sunday, October 07, 2012 7:41 PM
To: Richard Zander; Paul Kirk; Ken Kinman; msharkey at uky.edu;
taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] considerations for erecting (or sinking) higher
taxa

 

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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