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Re: Taxonomies dirty secret (was RE: The mystery of the furcula)
> Morphological distance from the next equivalent rank?
> People have suggested these as ideas, but only After The Fact; as possible
> justifications for the rankings already established, rather than a
> or metric by which the "rank" of a taxon could be evaluated.
AFAIK some extreme pheneticists* did try to use morphological distance as
just such a metric. Of course it didn't work -- no objective way has been
found to decide what a character worthy of being thrown into phenetic data
matrix is, so people never agreed, and phenetics, which claimed to be
objective, self-destroyed. Or so I hear, it has disappeared so completely
that literature on phenetics is very hard to find, apart from very short
comparisons to "evolutionary" and phylogenetic systematics on websites.
* As I hear (rumor) some even thought that when whales should ever come out
as fish in a phenetic analysis, then so be it, despite all evolution.