[Taxacom] The "land plant" taxon (and the paraphyly issue)

Ken Kinman kinman at hotmail.com
Mon Sep 10 09:02:40 CDT 2012


Hi Curtis,        I have concluded that the best name for the land plant taxon is either Embryophyta or Metaphyta, both of which are well known and widely used.  Whether it should be ranked as Kingdom or Phylum (or something in between) is no big deal.  But ranking it as a Class, particularly under the name Equisetopsida, seems a very bad idea, and I hope Tropicos reconsiders.  I should add that Cavalier-Smith revived the name Cormophyta for the land plant taxon, but that doesn't seem to be catching on.   
        As for the Envall paper, turns out that it is not relevant to the present discussion.  It barely discusses paraphyly at all, and is mainly a philosophical defense of Ashlock's term holophyly (versus Hennig's imprecise term monophyly).  As for PhyloCode and rankless classifications, its adherents have so muddled the classification of reptiles (especially theropod dinosaurs) and birds, I hope botanists will avoid doing the same thing to botanical classifications.               -------------Cheers,                                   Ken    
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> Date: Sun, 9 Sep 2012 22:25:21 -0700
> From: lists at curtisclark.org
> To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] The "land plant" taxon (and the paraphyly issue)
> 
> On 2012-09-09 7:54 PM, Ken Kinman wrote:
> > Dear All,          Reducing the huge and diverse "land plant" taxon to the rank of Class is clearly an attempt to avoid paraphyly of its mother taxon, Class Charophyceae.
> 
> A Phylocode proponent would say that's why we need rankless 
> classification. There are plenty of bad solutions to any problem. :-)
> 
> > Anyway, I just ran across a relevant paper (which I had not heard about) on the debate between those who accept paraphyletic taxa and those who do not accept them under any circumstances (the latter who I usually refer to as "strict cladists").  Unfortunately, the article by Mats Envall (2008) seems to be hidden behind a paywall.  Sounds like very interesting reading for anyone who is interested (and would be interested in a PDF myself).  Anyway, here's the title:
> > On the difference between mono-, holo-, and paraphyletic groups: a consistent distinction of process and patternMATS ENVALL, 2008Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, Volume 94, Issue 1, pages 217–220, May 2008
> 
> Mats Envall was blocked from Wikipedia for disruptive editing; he is far 
> more dismissive and insulting to cladists than anyone on Taxacom. My 
> understanding from his relentless posts is that his opposition to clades 
> and monophyly is philosophical (based on the nature of groups) rather 
> than biological. I'll see whether I can get a copy of the article.
> 
> -- 
> Curtis Clark        http://www.csupomona.edu/~jcclark
> Biological Sciences                   +1 909 869 4140
> Cal Poly Pomona, Pomona CA 91768
> 
> 
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