Message 2004-02-0007: Fwd: a comment on ancestor

Thu, 05 Feb 2004 08:02:34 -0400

[Previous by date - Re: a comment on ancestor]
[Next by date - Cladistics and the PhyloCode]
[Previous by subject - Fwd: Why is the PhyloCode so strict? (long)]
[Next by subject - Fwd: codes]

Date: Thu, 05 Feb 2004 08:02:34 -0400
From: Philip Cantino <>
Subject: Fwd: a comment on ancestor

Igor wrote:
>It occurs to me that all agree that inclusion of a new object into
>previously established classification would request re-running of
>cladistic analysis, otherwise it is impossible to decide to which
>particular taxon, as it is defined in the Phylocode, that object

In theory, perhaps this is correct, but in practice it would not be.
Many newly discovered organisms will be so similar morphologically to
others that had been included in an earlier cladistic analysis, that
one could confidently assign them to a clade.

Furthermore, if authors of phylogenetic definitions follow Rec. 9D
(which recommends including with the definition a list of member
species or subclades and a description or diagnosis), future workers
will have an easier time deciding which clades a newly discovered
species is a member of.  The list of member taxa and the diagnosis
are not part of the definition but make use of the author's expertise
on the group to help future workers determine whether particular
organisms that weren't included in the original analysis are members
of the clade.

>To me, it means that Phylocode pretends to regulate not only naming
>but also recognizing taxa: it is explicetly stated in the preamble
>and implicetly follows from presumed allocation procedure. Thus
>Phylocode becomes ideological instrument to supress all who disagree
>with cladistic principles.

The PhyloCode is designed to name clades.  It is therefore unlikely
to be adopted by anyone who does not agree with cladistic principles.
Its rules could be used to give explicit definitions to the names of
paraphyletic or even polyphyletic groups, but I think it is unlikely
anyone would choose to use it this way.


Philip D. Cantino
Professor and Associate Chair
Department of Environmental and Plant Biology
Ohio University
Athens, OH 45701-2979

Phone: (740) 593-1128; 593-1126
Fax: (740) 593-1130


Feedback to <> is welcome!