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Re: Taxon Search
From: "Jaime A. Headden" <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 04 Dec 2005 21:15:41 -0800 (PST)
> Meanwhile, enjoy an excellent paper:
> Sereno, P. C. 2005. The logical basis of phylogenetic taxonomy.
> _Systematic Biology_ 54:595-619.
It is quite interesting and makes several very good points, but I wouldn't
quite call it "excellent". This starts with the (somewhat overblown) title
-- there is no "phylogenetic taxonomy", only phylogenetic nomenclature.
(The term "taxonomy" was invented as "the theory of classifications".
People who apply phylogenetic nomenclature _do not classify_ -- they don't
hack the Tree of Life apart and try to shoehorn the pieces into a set of
boxes of predetermined sizes; instead they tie labels to defined places on
the intact tree.)
On Paul Sereno's own request (I still don't know why he values my opinion
that much...), I have written down all my comments to this paper. This is
done in the format I reply to e-mails -- a quote followed by my comments.
As a result, it is a Word document with 11 pages. If this doesn't scare
you, feel free to request a copy!
> "Abstract.?Phylogenetic taxonomy, like modern Linnean taxonomy, was
> modeled on a phylogenetic tree rather than a cladogram
Doesn't make any difference, except it allows somewhat more illustrative
> and, like its predecessor,
> perpetuates the use of morphology as a means of recognizing clades.
(This is about apomorphy-based definitions -- so it's about defining taxa,
not just recognizing them.)
> (2) a complete notational scheme for phylogenetic definitions is
> presented that distinguishes symbolic notation from shorthand and
> longhand versions;
Better than the scheme currently used in the examples of the PhyloCode,
but I hear a paper is in press which will offer much better
TaxonSearch is clearly a good thing (apart from the criteria for
determining "active" and "inactive" status, I'd say). I can't wait for it
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