[Taxacom] What taxon corresponds to "birds'?

John Grehan calabar.john at gmail.com
Tue Nov 29 20:54:41 CST 2016

So I get the impression from your comments Ken that you object to too many
taxonomic categories being proposed by (which could apply to any group with
many branches regardless of whether cladistic or otherwise). Can
sympathize, although there is no objective way to impose a limit.

Interesting converse to taxonomic categories that are not shown on the tree
is where a new phylogeny proposed breaking up numerous taxa (such as
genera), but no formal change to the generic classification. One wonders if
the authors are in such doubt about their results why bother proposing the
tree in the first place.

John Grehan

On Tue, Nov 29, 2016 at 8:14 PM, Kenneth Kinman <kinman at hotmail.com> wrote:

> Hi Stephen and Richard,
>       Yes, I agree.  Frankly, I love splintered cladograms and trees.
> However, when that splintering is incorporated into classifications (often
> prematurely), such classifications become less and less useful.
>        I just found one example in the Wikipedia article for
> Archosauriformes.  It has both a tree and a classification, but the
> classification has taxa not shown in the tree (and vice versa).  And the
> classification already contains a new clade Eucrocopoda proposed this year,
> so not much time for others to test this hypothesis.  And to get to
> Crocopoda you have to jump back above clade Archosauriformes, which is
> weird, and Eucrocopoda is between Archosauriformes and Archosauria (equally
> weird).
>         But perhaps weirdest of all, birds are now members of clades
> Crocopoda and Eucrocopoda:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archosauriformes
>                      ---------------Ken
> P.S.  Don't ask me how many clade names there are between Crocopoda and
> Aves, because I don't have time to count them all.   Might make for an
> interesting tree, but it makes for a very messy, splintered classification.
> ________________________________
> From: Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
> Sent: Tuesday, November 29, 2016 6:07 PM
> To: 'John Grehan'; 'Kenneth Kinman'; deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
> Cc: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] What taxon corresponds to "birds'?
> 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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> http://hbs.bishopmuseum.org/staff/pylerichard.html>
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