[Taxacom] Species Definition?
scott.thomson321 at gmail.com
Tue May 23 11:36:45 CDT 2017
>>So can we please just have numbers, or something for IDs of published and
not yet named, suggested taxonomic concepts, so that we can speak of them?
No Hannu. I would argue against numbers for taxa and I have had this
discussion with some of the major proponents of PhyloCode. We humans cannot
innately coneptualise numbers in this way. When I talk about Homo sapiens,
Elseya albagula or some fish that Richard described, I can remember its
name. I can remember the names of every species of turtle 454 taxa, I could
not remember what would have to be 10 digit number codes for them, so in
general communications, general articles and papers about species numbers
would be useless. Every number would have to be qualified or linked so
people would know what your talking about. We remember names, because we
humans classify everything using names. Its just what we do. You can assign
numbers to names in a database and let computers deal with that, but our
species in our heads cannot do this for large numbers of taxa. We will only
remember the names.
>>(I presume the 100 million year old chelid examples are published and
accessible to any reasonable literature search)
Yes John, 2 of the 100M year old fossils were published in 2010, the
molecular papers came out in 2014-2015. The 3rd fossil less likely, but
they could have had 2 of them.
On Tue, May 23, 2017 at 1:18 PM, Hannu Saarenmaa <hannu at bioshare.com> wrote:
> As an informatics person, I am amused to see this thread. And facinated
> too. Why is this still a question?
> "Facts are facts, but perception is reality". Does that that old phrase
> still rule in taxonomy?
> "a species is what a community of taxonomists says it is". "Community"
> is ambigous. So, is "species". Binomial is an attempt to
> antropomorphicically classify biodiversity. Not bad, given that the idea
> was coined 250 years ago. But the game has moved on.
> So can we please just have numbers, or something for IDs of published and
> not yet named, suggested taxonomic concepts, so that we can speak of them?
> In real world there are no species. Imagine that.
> On 2017-05-23 8:28, Richard Pyle wrote:
>> No, wait! Please don't automatically delete this message based on the
>> subject line!
>> Still with me? Cool.
>> I was curious if anyone read this:
>> And if so, whether you agree with the subtitle, "As DNA techniques let us
>> see animals in finer and finer gradients, the old definition is falling
>> apart"? We all know that people are (ab)using genetic data to draw
>> ever-finer lines among groups of organisms and labelling them with
>> Linnean-style names (binomens, no less). But it's not clear to me whether
>> this represents an evolving consensus on what we mean by "species", or if
>> is really more reflective of using a shiny new toy to boost one's
>> For the record, as far as I'm concerned, the de-facto definition of a
>> "species" hasn't changed since Darwin's time, paraphrased as "a species is
>> what a community of taxonomists says it is". But my question is about
>> whether the baseline for what the community "says it is" has changed/is
>> changing)? Or, in the long run will we retain roughly the same
>> within-taxon-group gestalt that we've generally had for a while now?
>> And if the consensus really is evolving, is that a good thing (more
>> recognition of biodiversity)? Or a bad thing (increasing incongruence with
>> historical knowledge)? My vote is to keep the best of both worlds and
>> a massive increase in the use of trinomials, but I imagine that statement
>> will be seen by many as a troll.
>> Richard L. Pyle, PhD
>> Database Coordinator | Associate Zoologist | 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
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