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Re: birds are birds, dogs are dogs



Ken Kinman wrote:

>       Unlike dinosaurology, strict cladism hasn't made the same inroads into
> disciplines like entomology, so you are unlikely to hear the insect
> equivalents, like "fleas are scorpionflies" or "termites are cockroaches".

Given the importance of the entomologist Hennig in the development of
cladistic
theory & practice, I'm not sure I'd agree with this view - I certainly
have
heard "termites are cockroaches" (and mantids for that matter) and I
think
this is highly educational for the general public who appear to bracket
termites with ants & wasps.

 > I
> believe it is the strict cladist's acquired distaste for any paraphyletic
> group that is the greater problem (more so than people showing off their
> knowledge or trying to socially intimidate).

I don't think most cladists (or their 'opponents') set out to intimidate
-
there is a distinction, I believe, in appropriate terminology for
communication
between scientists (where unambiguous precision is required) and between 
scientists and non-scientists (where communicating ideas in plain
language is
vital).  But that is irrelevant to how we go about the business of
systematics
or taxonomy.

>       I personally think it is more helpful (and less "in a person's face")
> to say fleas evolved from scorpionflies, or birds evolved from dinosaurs.


By this reasoning, is it helpful to say that rats "evolved from"
rodents, or
salmon "evolved from" fish?

Tony Canning