Message 2001-06-0070: Nipping the bud

Sat, 12 May 2001 19:24:14 +0000

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Date: Sat, 12 May 2001 19:24:14 +0000
From: Ken Kinman <>
Subject: Nipping the bud

      "Nipping the bud" is the ultimate problem with pure phylogenetic 
taxonomy.  Even many cladists will admit that speciation is a budding 
(paraphyletic) process.  Therefore paraphyletic groups are a superior model.
      Sister groups are a Hennigian convention (not based in reality at 
all), but they are a useful convention because extinction and the rarity of 
fossilization has given us gaps that make sister groups seem real and a 
useful approximation of real clades.
    In reality the tree of life is a nested series of paraphyletic groups 
that we can never discover, so the best we can hope is to recognize the most 
useful set of paraphyletic groups and exgroups (clades) that we can.  Those 
are the ones that should get formal names, and denying that paraphyly 
doesn't exist is to deny one of the primary aspects of the evolutionary 
                  -----Ken Kinman
>From: "Jaime A. Headden" <>
>Subject: Re: T-J Extinction event article (more media errors?)
>Date: Sat, 12 May 2001 10:50:26 -0700 (PDT)
>Ken Kinman ( wrote:
><This is just "informative" cross-referencing, and any analogies
>to being partially pregnant completely miss the point. If you
>formally remove an included clade (exgroup) you should leave a
>marker there to document it. Cladists get their sister group
>information, eclecticists can have exgroups, and everyone's
>needs should be accomodated in a single classificaton system
>(once we finally shake off the notion that this is not
>   This problem can be nipped in the bud (as it were): Don't have
>paraphyletic taxa. No need for any reference keys or markers or
>cross-referencing designs when they are not of any utility.
>Paraphyletic taxa are even less [or more, depending on your
>half-empty/full view] objective than mono- or holophyletic taxa,
>and I would think the ultimate goal would be to stop using them
>such that they given the reader the impression that such a group
>is being considered valid in any sense. Pelycosauria and its
>emended transformation into Pelycosauriformes is paraphyletic to
>boot, and even trying to emend it is an [inadverdent maybe]
>recognition of validity. No way its valid for the last two
>decades of research.
>Jaime A. Headden
>   Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhr-gen-ti-na
>   Where the Wind Comes Sweeping Down the Pampas!!!!
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