Message 2001-06-0054: Re: subscribers

Wed, 02 May 2001 22:09:07 -0300 (ADT)

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Date: Wed, 02 May 2001 22:09:07 -0300 (ADT)
From: "Alastair G. B. Simpson" <>
Subject: Re: subscribers

> There is nothing in the neo-Linnaean hierarchy of ranks that is
> incompatible with a strictly monophyletic classification.  Many who oppose
> the PhyloCode think we can do just fine within that framework.  I happen to
> disagree.  The argument against ranks and binomial nomenclature is separate
> from the argument against recognizing paraphyletic groups.  Both are
> important elements of PhyloCode, but I think this recent string of comments
> hasn't kept them separate.

Further to this: I have never understood why a strong defence of
neo-Linnaean classification (with ranks) and a willingness to accept
paraphyletic groups as formal taxa co-occur so frequently in the same
individuals.  The idea that life can be organised in a series of nesting
boxes (of descrete sizes, or at least colours of cardboard: the
ranks) seems tailor-made for a monophyly-only classification: The Linnaean
system does not allow for examples of non-nesting boxes.  However, if you
allow paraphyletic groups you can't be assured that the groups you want to
name will actually nest.  It strikes me that people who want to name
paraphyletic groups should actually be pretty dissatisfied with the
neo-linnaean system, though for different reasons to the phylocoders.

But you guys all know this stuff anyway....

Alastair Simpson


Feedback to <> is welcome!