Message 2001-02-0007: Re: apomorphy-based names

Mon, 05 Feb 2001 17:46:56 -0600 (CST)

[Previous by date - apomorphy-based names]
[Next by date - Wagner's proposals]
[Previous by subject - Re: another tiresome (and predictable) attack against phylogenetic systematics]
[Next by subject - Re: apomorphy-based names]

Date: Mon, 05 Feb 2001 17:46:56 -0600 (CST)
From: "Jonathan R. Wagner" <znc14@TTACS.TTU.EDU>
To: "David M. Hillis" <>
Subject: Re: apomorphy-based names

At 04:47 PM 2/5/01 -0600, Dr. Hillis wrote:
>Speaking as someone who hates the idea of apomorphy-based
>definitions of clades, I would NOT want to see recommendations that
>suggest their use.
        a) I hate apomorphy-based definitions too. :)
        b) I hate qualifying clauses even more... I think if you want to
                "shed essentialism," you should go there first. They have
                effectively eliminated one of the most powerful points of
                the original DeQ&G papers: phlylogenetic taxa recognize real
                entities, and thus always exist. No more though, now they 
                "phase" in and out of existence with by analytical fiat...
                almost like a weak Star Trek plot.
        c) I do not feel that these recommendations would "suggest" the use of
                apomorphy-based definitions, any more than telling an IV drug-
                user to use a clean needle advocates addiction, nor more than
                providing access to condoms in high schools encourages teen sex.
                I suspect we feel very much alike regarding the use and abuse of
                phylogenetic nomenclature. However, as long as the PhyloCode
                provides for the use of practices we find less than satisfying,
                I feel it should provide guidelines for the sane and rational
                exectution of those practices.
        d) And, please note: the third of my recommendations has nothing to do
                with apomorphy based defintions. I would be interested to hear
                what Dr. Hillis thinks of this one.

>I would not use apomorphy-based definitions for any name, whether or
>not the name suggests an apomorphy.
        Even I, as purveyor of the recommendation, am not all that
enthusiastic about the first one. However, it seemed unfair to ask such a
high degree to intellectual purity of every aspect of our nomenclature
EXCEPT apomorphy-based definitions. If that makes any sense...

>I think a node-based definition of Tetrapoda is clear,
        Please see my forthcoming response to David Marjanovic. It was not
my intention to spark such enthusiasm on either side of this debate. Indeed,
if you will read my first proposal, I come out against the definition of
traditional taxa with apomorphy-based definitions. I was more concerned
about recently named (since 1970 or so) taxa which have not developed a
significant taxonomic history, as well as totally new taxa.

        Still, I thank Dr. Hillis for his prompt and thoughtful reply. I'm
sorry that my recommendations tread on ground he finds distasteful, and I
certainly agree with his reasons.


        Jonathan R. Wagner

P.S. Dr. Hillis, please forgive the third-person reply, I never really know
what to do with direct replies on a listserv.
     Jonathan R. Wagner, Dept. of Geosciences, TTU, Lubbock, TX 79409-1053
  "Why do I sense we've picked up another pathetic lifeform?" - Obi-Wan Kenobi


Feedback to <> is welcome!