[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

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

> Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2012 02:22:05 +0200
> From: david.marjanovic@gmx.at
> To: dinosaur@usc.edu
> Subject: 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.


No?  Which are humans closer relatives to:  *Gorilla gorilla* or *Catta catta* ?


(respectively, gorilla and ring-tailed lemur)



> 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.


 This is where paleontology has the advantage.  If you're trying to determine 
the number of (taxa/?) that are in a given plot of rainforest/reefs/other 
habitat, to convince that nation's government to set aside that area for 
conservation*, which do you think helps your effort more?


-Phylogenic tree  (of taxa new to science?)



* = As has been done; Nat Geo had the Megatransect of Africa, Science Channel 
had a program on Borneo, etc.


> Ranks 
> are worse than useless: they're actively misleading.