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Re: ...and how ranks don't work was Re: Sauropodz r kewl

Am 19.04.2012 14:25, schrieb tyazbeck@comcast.net:

 But lower ranks are one thing. What about phyla or classes? Or
 kingdoms&higher categories? athe reason I think ranks are useful is
 because they sort of give us a frame of reference for how closely
 related a taxon is to others,

Again, they don't.

They pretend to, but they don't.

This is particularly annoying when people try to measure biodiversity by counting the taxa that their preferred classification puts at the same rank. They're not measuring anything except taxonomists' mood swings. What you need to measure biodiversity, unless you have a list of species under one single species concept, is the sum of branch lengths that connect the organisms you look at. You need a phylogenetic tree. Ranks are worse than useless: they're actively misleading.