[Taxacom] New species of the future

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Tue Oct 29 17:58:49 CDT 2013

On the other hand, TAXONOMY is about naming and differentiating between species, so that these species can be meaningfully studied in ecological, biosecurity, and conservation contexts. We need MORE taxonomists, and perhaps LESS systematists ..

From: Kirk Fitzhugh <kfitzhugh at nhm.org>
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu 
Sent: Wednesday, 30 October 2013 11:38 AM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] New species of the future

I support Dave Roberts position as well as the efforts of the paper. 
Systematics is about describing any and all features of organisms, and 
to the extent possible, offering explanatory hypotheses (i.e. taxa) that 
extend our understanding of those features. That is the essence of 
science, thus t?a?x?o?n?o?m?y?  c?l?a?s?s?i?f?i?c?a?t?i?o?n? systematics.


J. Kirk Fitzhugh, Ph.D.
Curator of Polychaetes
Invertebrate Zoology Section
Research & Collections Branch
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
900 Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90007
Phone: 213-763-3233
FAX: 213-746-2999
e-mail: kfitzhug at nhm.org

On 10/29/2013 3:09 PM, Dave Roberts wrote:
> Dear Jason,
> taxonomists really need to move beyond the tight limits of our discipline.  Diagnostic is not sufficient for the rest of the world.  People, reasonably, want to know what this new taxon is doing differently from other things.  If nothing, then why do we need to name it?  We should be looking towards a time where we place taxa into a functional landscape (i.e. predictive modelling <http://h2020.myspecies.info/content/conference-summary>).  Tight adherence to the Old Ways is not going to ensure the survival of taxonomy. .
> So really, what is the problem with presenting the transcriptome, if possible?
> For the cyber-type, this is surely a mechanism better suited to some taxa (typically small and soft-bodied) than others.  OK this is an arthropod, but its a proof of principle.  It still makes a workable facsimile accessible essentially everywhere.  Is that not better than just a corpse in a jar on a shelf somewhere?
> Cheers, Dave
> Declaration: co-author on this paper.

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