[Taxacom] The more you know the more you lump|split.

Ken Kinman kinman at hotmail.com
Thu Jul 18 18:10:13 CDT 2013


Hi Jim,

 

        Well, it depends on what organisms and at what rank.  In general, I would say that the more you know, the more you lump.  It was certainly true for angiosperm orders and families (which were terribly oversplit), once the molecular data came flooding in during the 1990s.  Also true of many vertebrate genera and species during the first half of the 20th Century (after being oversplit during the 19th Century).  There was move back to more splitting during the last quarter of the 20th Century, but that was not necessarily due to more knowledge, but perhaps more often due to a shift to a phylogenetic species concept.

 

                  ----------------Ken

 


 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

> From: beach at ku.edu
> To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Date: Thu, 18 Jul 2013 22:06:09 +0000
> Subject: [Taxacom] The more you know the more you lump|split.
> 
> Jason Mate's comment:
> 
> > On the other hand, the pursuit of "meaningful" higher taxa has lead to provincialism and oversplitting. 
> > By this I mean that the longer and harder you look at something the more you see of it but the less 
> > around it and this leads taxonomists along the path of believing that their group is so unique that it deserves a classification to match.
> 
> reminded me of a rule of thumb that was a favorite of my plant systematics 101 professor:
> 
> "The more you know the more you lump."
> 
> The other camp (to make this a good binary discussion) is of course:
> 
> "The more you know the more you split"
> 
> I have an interest in psycho/social/professional influences of how people, starting with young kids, classify the world into self/not-self and later same/not-same as they learn more about it. 
> 
> It would be interesting (and fun!) to know from the Taxacom faithful what arguments/research experiences would support either of these two views and which view they would most identify with.
> 
> Jim B.
> 
> James H. Beach
> Biodiversity Institute
> University of Kansas
> 1345 Jayhawk Boulevard
> Lawrence, KS 66044 USA
> 
> Office: 785-864-4645
> Cell: 785-331-8508
> 
> 
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