[Taxacom] Paraphyletic groups as natural units of biological classification

Fred Schueler bckcdb at istar.ca
Sun Sep 28 01:01:50 CDT 2014

Quoting Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>:

> The problem here is that your second list isn't a fully fledged  
> Linnean classification, as the items in the list have different  
> levels (some are families, some are orders, etc.) The difficulty  
> arises in trying to construct a Linnean classification, whereby, for  
> any taxon, *all taxa at the next lowest level are monophyletic*

* the whole problem with paraphyly is the expression "Linnean classification."

If you just assign each monophyl a date (however conjectural), rather  
than a rank, you've not only set up a swarm of testable hypotheses,  
inviting inter-taxon comparisons, among others, but there's no need to  
worry about paraphyly, which just wouldn't exist. If one wants to do  
phenetic comparisons to describe functional or ecological  
similarities, that's another matter, which could be hung on the dated  
tree in various ways.

           Frederick W. Schueler & Aleta Karstad
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