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

Richard Zander Richard.Zander at mobot.org
Fri Oct 12 13:34:35 CDT 2012


I think macro- and microevolution are dependent on our apprehension of the genetic and adaptive limits of species. If we accept that there are species, then changes within species that do not or have not led to higher taxa are microevolution, and traits associated with higher taxa are derived from macroevolution.

I don't think this is solely definitional. Microevolution is basically changes that are randomly generated and slosh around following drift and other pressures, but traits associated with macroevolution are sets of traits that allow survival or competitive success in another selective regime. Macroevolution, I think, is largely fixation of a set of traits along with a core of conservative traits. It is parsimonious only because there is a selective advantage to the smallest set of adaptive traits in a new selective regime. You can't get half a bird from a bat, only changes along the lines of those traits that differentiate bats. Using parsimony is okay with cladistics associated with microevolution.

Utilitarian? Some natural concepts are utilitarian, some are not so much. Whitehead is incomprehensible, opaque, and the brain soon autolyzes. Danger. 
_______________________
Richard H. Zander
Missouri Botanical Garden
PO Box 299
St. Louis, MO 63166 U.S.A.
richard.zander at mobot.org



-----Original Message-----
From: Robinwbruce at aol.com [mailto:Robinwbruce at aol.com]
Sent: Thu 10/11/2012 3:36 PM
To: Richard Zander
Cc: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: 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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