Phylogeny and Systematics
Taxonomy - Definitions
The Incompatibility of the Cladistic and Linnaean Systems
Photgraph by dogmadic, From Wikipedia, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 by-sa license. GNU Free Documentation License,
Taxonomy is the classification, identification, and naming of organisms. Although the original Linnaean system of taxonomy predates evolutionary (phylogenetic) thinking, taxonomy today is usually richly informed by phylogenetics, but remains methodologically and logically distinct.
The degree to which taxonomy depends on phylogeny differs between schools of taxonomy: phenetics and numerical taxonomy ignored phylogeny altogether, trying to represent the similarity between organisms instead; phylogenetic systematics tries to reproduce phylogeny in its classification without loss of information; and evolutionary taxonomy tries to find a compromise between them in order to represent stages of evolution - (Wikipedia)
One might suppose that classification should reflect phylogeny, and that phylogeny would automatically result in a superior classification system, but this is not necessarily the case. Taxonomiess may involve organisms that appear to be closely related but are not, phylogenies can result in unweildly systems, or phylogenetic definitions can be totally overturned by new discoveries and hypothesis Taxonomies can be overturned as well, but are generally more robust (Benton 2007). The most reasonable approach therefore is to acknowledge the usefulness of both descriptive classification and phylogenetic hypotheses as two equally partial and complementary means of understanding the natural world. MAK120229
page last modified MAK130330