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RE: worrying decline
With all due respect, this is hogwash.
Amen. One of the most important functions of phylogenetic
reconstruction is not pinning names on nodes and cause taxonomists
endless pain (and publications) but once the rather tedious business
of working out how species are related is over and done with, to look
at WHY that pattern of relatedness is like it is, what processes
drive it, and what it can tell you about the way ('scuse the glib
statement) life works and species evolve, both as individuals and
communities. You simply can't do this without phylogenies -
taxonomies may tell you groupings but they don't tell you how far
each species is from any other and without this information it
becomes much more difficult to quantify trends that you see.
Two cents well spent,