[Taxacom] What taxon corresponds to "birds'?

John Grehan calabar.john at gmail.com
Tue Nov 29 18:15:16 CST 2016

Rich might have a different opinion, but I think they come close as we can
to facts. Otherwise the results would be meaningless regarding
biogeography. The fact that time and again phylogenetic arrangements match
tectonic structures (often in surprising detail) shows that there is indeed
something beyond mere hypotheses in the more vacuous sense.

John Grehan

On Tue, Nov 29, 2016 at 7:07 PM, Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>

> Rich,
> Yes, one major problem involves people trying to "formalize" every
> phylogenetic hypothesis into a classification! I'm really confused about
> one major and fundamental issue relating to phylogenies, which has
> considerable bearing on this issue. Are phylogenies merely hypotheses (to
> be tested, which is an ongoing process without a clear endpoint) or are
> they already the nearest things we can get to "facts"? If they are merely
> hypotheses, then it makes little or no sense to use them to alter
> classifications.
> Cheers,
> Stephen
> --------------------------------------------
> On Wed, 30/11/16, Richard Pyle <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org> wrote:
>  Subject: Re: [Taxacom] What taxon corresponds to "birds'?
>  To: "'John Grehan'" <calabar.john at gmail.com>, "'Kenneth Kinman'" <
> kinman at hotmail.com>
>  Cc: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>  Received: Wednesday, 30 November, 2016, 12:16 PM
>  > I have seem
>  > innumerable molecular phylogenies
>  generating many branching points
>  >
>  involving many taxa, but as long as the tree is presented I
>  am not sure what
>  > you see to be so
>  complicated or splintered. With respect to splintered are
>  you
>  > saying some phylogenetic
>  relationships should remain unresolved so the
>  > pattern is 'simple'?
>  I can't answer for Ken,
>  but one point I have been making for many years is that if
>  you want to represent inferred evolutionary relationships
>  among organisms, then cladograms and similar branch-type
>  diagrams are an extremely effective tool for communicating
>  them.  I think the problem happens when people have tried
>  to use a hierarchcal classification and nomenclatural system
>  originally developed by a creationist (aka, Linnean
>  nomenclature) as a system explicitly for communicating
>  hypothesized inferred evolutionary relationships.  Such
>  names and classifications have a history spanning more than
>  two and a half centuries (a century before Darwin), and
>  benefit to some degree on stability of usage over time.
>  Thus, let's use line
>  drawings like cladograms to communicate our specific ideas
>  about inferred evolutionary relationships, and leave the
>  nomenclature to the function it has very effectively
>  fulfilled for many years.  Clearly there is (and should
>  be!) a very high degree of congruence between the two
>  systems of communication.  But attempts to use the latter
>  as a strict communication tool to represent the former often
>  (usually?) serves neither goal effectively. Birds are a
>  great example of this.
>  Aloha,
>  Rich
>  Richard L. Pyle, PhD
>  Database Coordinator for Natural Sciences |
>  Associate Zoologist in Ichthyology | Dive Safety Officer
>  Department of Natural Sciences, Bishop Museum,
>  1525 Bernice St., Honolulu, HI 96817
>  Ph:
>  (808)848-4115, Fax: (808)847-8252 email: deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
>  http://hbs.bishopmuseum.org/staff/pylerichard.html
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