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a universal Reptilia (ending the cladisto-eclectic war)



Stanley,
Amen to a traditional (but modified) Reptilia. I couldn't agree more.
However, I do understand the cladists' position, and that is why (in The Kinman System, 1994) I insist on rendering such groups "informationally" holophyletic. Two simple markers, {{Aves}} and {{Mammmalia}}, placed respectively next to Saurischiformes and Therapsiformes, and the same markers placed at family level within classifications of saurischians and therapsids. If we knew the sister groups of mammals and birds at the generic level, we could place such markers down to generic level (but this is tricky at best for mammals, and certainly not possible for birds). More fossils will make this possible in the future.
Once traditional eclecticists (Mayr School) and traditional cladists (Hennig School) stop fighting long enough to realize that a middle ground approach is not only possible, but actually superior to either traditional system of classification, the classification war will wind down. If the Hatfields and McCoys can finally make peace, so can the eclecticists and cladists. What a waste of talent and energy we have seen in the last 30 years.
Tudge's formal recognition of both a Reptilia and "Reptilia" is ambiguous and not a true intermediate position. I haven't seen his work, but it sounds like a wishy-washy compromise that will satisfy noone.
A single "semi-paraphyletic" Reptilia is far superior----paraphyletic in the traditional sense, but made complete (holophyletic) by the addition of the two Kinman markers {{Aves}} and {{Mammalia}}. The Kinman System is designed to be a single universally acceptable classification methodology, combining both genealogy and divergence "in a single classification in such a way that both are retrievable." That is what David Hull said we needed, in his 1979 paper ("The Limits of Cladism", Syst. Zool., 28:416-440).
------Ken Kinman
******************************************************
From: Stanley Friesen <sarima@friesen.net>
Reply-To: sarima@friesen.net
To: philidor11@snet.net
CC: "Dinosaur ListServer" <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Subject: Re: Another Branch of the Family
Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2000 17:34:48 -0700

At 06:22 PM 6/18/00 -0400, philidor11 wrote:
From a review by W. Ford Doolittle of the book by Colin Tudge, Sunday
(6/18) New York Times Book Review Section:
 Either we call birds reptiles or
          we cannot have such a group as the class Reptilia, because it
spawned
          creatures (in fact two whole classes, Aves and Mammalia) that
we don't
          call reptiles. Disputes about this still rage in the academic
          literature because there are still those who hold that
similarity, if
          strong enough, should trump relationship,

I find this wording of the issue to be prejudicial and, IMHO, inaccurate. Allowing paraphyletic groups does NOT override relationships, and no modern taxonomist that I know of would tolerate a truly polyphyletic group, no matter how great the similarity. (A paraphyletic group is still a closed figure with regard to the evolutionary tree, so relationships still dominate).

What IS suggested is that similarity should be a strong *secondary* factor
in determining classification.  Nobody since the demise of Numerical
Taxonomy has seriously supported any other position.

 that classification is not
          just about genealogy.

This, however, is what the real issue is.

Tudge explicates the cladist doctrine quite clearly, while
personally
adopting an intermediate position (suggesting that we
simultaneously
recognize a Reptilia that includes mammals and birds and a
''Reptilia'' that doesn't, and would be what most people mean by
reptiles). This is the kind of casual ambiguity with which most
of us
are already comfortable -- without the typographical trickery.
I doubt
that Tudge's terminology will be embraced by professionals.

So do I. I would use Reptilia for a paraphyletic grouping closely corresponding to its classical scope.

--------------
May the peace of God be with you.         sarima@ix.netcom.com
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