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

Ken Kinman kinman at hotmail.com
Fri Oct 12 11:46:47 CDT 2012





Hi Robin,
       Generally speaking, microevolution deals with species and populations, while macroevolution deals with species and higher taxa.  This division is not only utilitarian, but can be viewed as natural as well.  Of course, species and speciation can be very fuzzy, so the distinction between microevolution and macroevolution can likewise be fuzzy at that level.       
       But getting back to nesting.  "Cladification" is simple nesting (thus is often not maximally informative), it can be very asymmetic (which can also contribute to instability), and generates lots of burdensome new names which often don't stand the test of time.   Strict cladists do not go the extra step of adding anagenetic information (i.e. divergence) to yield a maximally useful and stable "classification".  Peter Ashlock explains the differences between cladism and eclecticism much better than I ever could (see Mayr and Ashlock's 1991 book, Principles of Systematic Zoology).
                    ---------Ken
__________________________________
>  From: Robinwbruce at aol.com
> To: Richard.Zander at mobot.org
> CC:  taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Sent: 10/11/2012 9:36:22 P.M. GMT Daylight  Time
> Subj: Re: [Taxacom] considerations for erecting (or sinking) higher  taxa
> 
> 
> But why should nature be bifurcated into macro- and micro-  evolution?
>  
> For our convenience?
>  
> This would then seem to reflect a system of utilitarian classification  
> rather than a natural one.
>  
> See for example Whitehead, The Concept of Nature, 1920 (Tarner Lectures  
> 1919).
>  
> Robin
>  
>  
>  
>  
> In a message dated 10/11/2012 7:41:22 P.M. GMT Daylight Time,  
> Richard.Zander at mobot.org writes:
> 
> 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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