[Taxacom] Why stability?

JF Mate aphodiinaemate at gmail.com
Wed Apr 29 17:30:52 CDT 2015


I was wondering why nobody else had raised this solution. An additional
benefit woukd be raising awareness of taxonomic publications as well as
giving a little pat in the back to the non-Hosers who clean-up.

Alas simple, common sense solutions don't sell well if they don't have a
catchy name.

Jason
On 30/04/2015 5:38 AM, "Richard Pyle" <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org> wrote:

> I agree with Nico, and with the direction of this thread I general (but I
> think it's a bit conflated with "nomenclatural stability" -- at least in
> terms of how the ICZN Code defines it).
>
> The quick & dirty solution for practicing taxonomists is actually VERY
> simple, and doesn't require any development of digital/data
> infrastructure.  That solution is basically this:  In the same way that
> responsible taxonomists (and determiners of specimen taxon identifications)
> include the nomenclatural authorship when documenting a Linnean-style name
> (in a publication, on a specimen label, in a database, etc.); we can get
> 90% of the benefit of high-granularity taxon concepts resolution if we were
> consistent about also adding "sensu Jones 1995" [etc.] to our names.  If
> you prefer, use "sec." instead of "sensu" -- but the point is that this one
> VERY simple step -- which some taxonomists have been doing already --
> allows us to bridge the gap between the fuzzy nomenclature-only concepts to
> the much less fuzzy Taxon-name-usage (TNU) instance (i.e., more precisely
> implied taxon concept).  And (BONUS!) -- this convention is reasonably
> friendly to human cognition!
>
> Aloha,
> Rich
>
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Taxacom [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of
> > Nico Franz
> > Sent: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 9:11 AM
> > To: Stephen Thorpe
> > Cc: TAXACOM
> > Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Why stability?
> >
> > Thank you, Stephen.
> >
> >    I think it helps us to think of systems with different levels of
> taxonomic
> > resolution granularity as variously succeeding or failing in providing
> specific
> > reference services that we inter-subjectively need. Many us have been
> trained
> > on, even written dissertations with, the Linnaean system. The system has
> > apparently, and to a considerable degree, succeeded in providing the
> reference
> > services that we demand from it.
> >
> >    A finer classificatory mesh can frequently provide more services than
> a
> > coarse one, if and to the extent that the mesh resolution matches up with
> > nested sets of entities in nature. If the mesh is too fine, or over time
> the
> > abundance of changes (almost a direct consequence of high initial
> > resolution) becomes hard to track for us cognitively, then this a
> constraint from
> > the other side.
> >
> >    Linnaeus, who to my understanding was perhaps more in the business of
> > mesh formalization (qua ranks) than resolution fine-tuning (having
> worked off
> > of a rich body of pre-existing, working taxonomic meshes), promoted a
> certain
> > degree of granularity. Had that proposal been utterly unworkable for our
> minds
> > and reference needs, and/or corresponded only minimally with select,
> > hierarchically sustained phenomena in nature, then I'd hope (not being
> much of
> > a relativist about systematics) that we would've come to adjust the
> resolution
> > level; maybe along the lines of your bird proposal.
> > Given the way we are, and the way nature is, I believe that many
> alternative
> > systems would provide fewer important reference services to us, and so
> it is not
> > accidental that we are not switching over to them.
> >
> > Cheers, Nico
> >
> > P.s.: A related reference:
> >
> http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1525/aa.1973.75.1.02a00140/abstract
> >
> >
> > On Tue, Apr 28, 2015 at 4:32 PM, Stephen Thorpe
> > <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > Richard:
> > >
> > > But genera have arbitrary boundaries, at least in part. Lumping vs.
> > > splitting is entirely subjective, independently of any phylogenetic
> > > considerations (such as paraphyly). We could have 1 genus for all
> > > birds, for example, and it would be a monophyletic genus.
> > >
> > > Stephen
> > >
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