Message 2001-06-0061: RE: conflict between monophyletic taxonomy and rank-based classification

Fri, 04 May 2001 08:49:05 -0600 (MDT)

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Date: Fri, 04 May 2001 08:49:05 -0600 (MDT)
Subject: RE: conflict between monophyletic taxonomy and rank-based classification

Thomas, Mike, Jaime, and Kevin,
     I am quite relieved that the "primitive peoples" comment is the main=

focus of your rebuttals.  I deplore taxa like Vermes and Pachydermata, an=
d to
suggest that I want to return to traditional eclecticism (much less folk
taxonomy) couldn't be further from the truth, and it just distracts from =
more important issues. =

     Anyone who takes more than a cursory look at my classifications know=
that they are based on cladistic phylogeny, but I choose to add an anagen=
component at carefully chosen spots in the tree of life.  Anyone who has
studied Mayr and Ashlock knows the various reasons for this.
      I obviously do not incorporate the odd quirks of folk taxonomy,
Aristotle, Linnaeus, or anyone else (including what I believe to be the q=
aspects of Woese's ideas and classifications that are still popular in ma=
circles).  I think cladistics (especially cladistic analysis) is a wonder=
and powerful tool, but I believe that "pure" cladism has swung the pendul=
too far and that a cladisto-eclectic synthesis is inevitable.  I just hop=
e we
don't have to go through another 35 years of feuding and confusion to get=

              ------Ken Kinman   =

"Thomas R. Holtz, Jr."  wrote:
Ken Kinman writes:

> From: []
>      In many cases, the well-defined clade is not only well-defined but=

> distinctive enough that it has often been raised to a higher
> rank.  One such
> an embedded clade is Aves which was so distinctive that even
> primitive peoples
> paraphyletically removed it from Reptilia.  Not consciously of course, =
> this is how the human brain normally classifies, at least when it
> hasn't been
> conditioned to believe that paraphyly is something unnatural.

Not quite an accurate read of folk taxonomy.  While it is true that most
cultures recognize a category "bird" (which often includes bats), I can't=

think of a folk taxonomy that recognizes a "Reptilia" sensu Romer and
company (i.e., a group comprising turtles, lepidosaurs, crocs, and nothin=
else in the living world).  These critters tend to be lumped in the gener=
quadruped catagory, and are not brigaded off in a particular section
exclusive of mammals.

Indeed, Linnaeus himself had some rather peculiar combiantions of taxa in=

his Amphibia (Reptilia)...

                Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                Vertebrate Paleontologist
Department of Geology           Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland          College Park Scholars
                College Park, MD  20742
Phone:  301-405-4084    Email:
Fax (Geol):  301-314-9661       Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-405-0796

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