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RE: Polyphyletic or Paraphyletic?

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Posted by: apeltes at Thu Oct 2 21:05:58 2008  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by apeltes ]  
   

I disagree. He clearly understands phylogeny. The thing is that this person supports the infusion of subjectivity in order to preserve historical mistakes. He promotes banishing the birds and mammals from the reptiles because they are "different". All reptiles are different. To me, turtles are more divergent from the other amniotes than birds. The turtle shell is as different and strange as fur or feathers, but I keep my opinions out of my science. I also think whales and bats are fantastically different from other mammals, but I don't feel the need to make a taxon out of the non-whale and non-bat mammals to satisfy my ignorant gut feeling that all land mammals seem to be more similar to each other than any of them are to whales or bats. I allow the whales and bats to remain in the mammal taxon dispite their odd adaptations, and I allow birds to remain in the reptile taxon despite their odd adaptations.

Seriously, I think this discussion has been enlightening. It shows that some of us can get past our primitive tendency to group things based on superficial similarity. We use objective criteria and we accept the results even if the results go against what our middle-school science teachers told us.

Bottom line: is phylogeny the pursuit of groups defined by relatedness or perceived similarity?


   

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