[Taxacom] OMG! DNA only descriptions (with one habitus photo)!

John Grehan calabar.john at gmail.com
Sat Jul 27 17:59:43 CDT 2019


Stephen, you often make some interesting and even pertinent points, whether
or not I may always agree, but please leave out the garbage of imputing
motives ( "as they will be more concerned with the politics of not getting
off-side with any significant sector of the broadly taxonomic community")
unless you have actual hard evidence. I have to put up with certain
politicians using that tactic and I would rather not see it adopted in
taxonomic discussion.

John Grehan

On Sat, Jul 27, 2019 at 6:40 PM Stephen Thorpe via Taxacom <
taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:

>  Thomas,I didn't say that T has to be interpreted as a symbol for thymine,
> just that it can reasonably be so interpreted, i.e. there is "wiggle room"
> to invalidate the work based on lack of descriptions/diagnoses in words. It
> is entirely ambiguous between symbol or abbreviation, so the availability
> of the work is entirely ambiguous. Such ambiguity requires a ruling one way
> or the other (if there is significant disagreement within the taxonomic
> community on this point, which there may or may not turn out to be). Also,
> I assume that the journal DEZ still prints hard copy, but if not then the
> work is unavailable e-only due to the lack of a specified archive on
> ZooBank.I comes as no surprise to me that the commission is prepared to
> allow this sort of DNA only pseudo-taxonomy, as they will be more concerned
> with the politics of not getting off-side with any significant sector of
> the broadly taxonomic community. Personally, I relegate to the rubbish bin
> any work which erects new taxa on the basis of*, e.g. "Many specimens of
> this species were originally identified as Zelomorpha arizonensis by MJS
> based on morphology. However, p-distances
> between Z. arizonensis and Z. angelsolisi are greater than 8%", and which
> fails to even mention a very relevant article from earlier in the year by
> the same authors, i.e.
> https://www.mapress.com/j/zt/article/view/zootaxa.4565.1.11Cheers,Stephen
> *The best approach here would have been to simply state that some
> morphologically indistinguishable specimens of Z. arizonensis have been
> found to have p-distances up to 8% different from others, which may
> indicate a cryptic species complex, requiring further research.
>     On Saturday, 27 July 2019, 07:20:39 pm UTC, Richard Zander via Taxacom
> <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:
>
>  Possibly SAMPLING is the key to resolving this problem. I've got a book
> on sampling that requires a huge number of samples to get a true idea of
> variation, but this is when nothing much is known about a group and the
> group the group is in.
>
> We usually know enough to be able to describe a species from a single
> specimen if we know that related species have little variation, and by
> extension, so might the new one. Sampling then depends in part on context.
>
> We sample taxa. Only the most dedicated monographer looks at every
> specimen. We sample to get a handle on the features of a species. What
> features? The ones important for other scientists, which nowadays means
> ecology, evolution, population biology, and the like. Barcoding is
> unhelpful. Describing in detail every species in a speciose group can be
> overkill.
>
> In an era of existential calamity, in my opinion, we want good information
> to help us deal with evolvability, adaptation, and change of environment
> without collapse. Relentless taxonomy is useless without those who
> interpret our product. We need some sort of contract or deal with
> ecologists and environmentalists that makes the most of what we taxonomists
> can do in the next 50 years. 30 years? 20 years?
>
> Take any speciose group. What trends or principles are involved in its
> evolution, what species die off and what are the correlates if any, what
> species generate biotypes and descendant species galore, what species are
> truly different...?  What are the questions you think might be asked of
> your area of expertise that might incrementally help humans make amends for
> their hubris? A good revision can provide abundant material for
> evolutionary and environmental theory. Have you any theories about
> evolution past and future in your group?
>
> -------
> Richard H. Zander
> Missouri Botanical Garden – 4344 Shaw Blvd. – St. Louis – Missouri – 63110
> – USA
> richard.zander at mobot.org Ofc: +1 314 577-0276
> Web sites: http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/bfna/bfnamenu.htm and
> http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/resbot/
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> Nurturing nuance while assaulting ambiguity for 32 some years, 1987-2019.
>
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>


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