Re: definitions

From: Dave Evans (T442119@RUTADMIN.RUTGERS.EDU)
Date: Tue Aug 31 1999 - 16:35:00 PDT

Date:    Tue, 31 Aug 99 19:35 EDT
From: Dave Evans                           <T442119@RUTADMIN.RUTGERS.EDU>
Message-Id: <aabcdefg3102$foo@default>
Subject: Re: definitions

Dear Steve,

> > > I personally believe many cp "species" are color and / or
> > > shape variations and not genetically different enough to be
> > > separated taxonomically.
> [ I'm not sure I understand this part. Are you saying you
> don't like the definition of species? ]
> Dave:
> I'd dearly love to hear a comprehensible definition of species from
> anyone involved in modern Botany.

   Well I'm not "involved with modern Botany". I'm still
stuck trying to understand "older Botany".

> [Are you sure you meant "genetically" and not "morphologically".
> Otherwise you seem to contradict yourself.]
> No, Dave, here's where you seem to lack the original focus of
> taxonomy, as does much of Botany.
> Taxonomy is an attempt to categorize plant genetic relationships.
> What's related to what. Unfortunately, to this point, taxonomy has
> relied on very subjective observations of morphology.
> I believe that genetically similar plants, with different expressions
> of those genes are the same species.

   Ok, I'm glad you do. Now, it's up the level headed taxonmists
to debunk bogus names. Have you looked at Jan's species list on
the CP web-site? There are more bogus names (each one published,
in one form or an other) than anything else.

> I believe your confusion in my seeming contradiction lies in your
> belief in the validity of morphology showing genetic differences. It
> does, but to what extent does the expression of one gene over another
> denote a species?

   Well now, that is just the heart of matter. Also, you didn't
set up your sarcasm well is all. I understood that bit about splitt-
ing up _Homo_ was a joke, but I don't understand why you feel that
using "modern Botany" rules, that you could make this split. I
think some scientists are far too eager to publish something or any-
thing. In other cases, people just don't realize that they haven't
found something new.
   That's why I did write up a brief bit about Homo being split
into three sections. I think you could. The thing about color,
though, doesn't hold water because it is too subjective in regards
to the environment. So, if the coloration depends on the light,
it can't be used to define a taxanomical name. If someone writes
up such a paper using this extremely subjective trait, please
utilize the nearest toilet, and then write a better paper.
   Talking about _Drosera_, yes cormous sundews can and should be
split into their own subgenera, based on morphology. It's (at
least to me) plain as day.

> ["After all you get different colors as
> each plant (or clone) within a species has different genetics.]
> True. So blonds are a species? I knew that's why I didn't seem to
> comunicate well . *grin*

   Er, no! I don't see how this could be the case. Just because
some idiot publishes something doesn't mean it's true or accurate.
Also, if the the majority of other people in a given field don't
concur, aren't such papers simply noted (and referenced in any
future papers) and then the value of any new names goes to about zilch?

> Sorry you don't "get" sarcasm. I wasn't serious. *wink* But you
> might admit that by botanical standards of "morphology" not only
> would there be a few new genera of Homo, but there'd be hundreds of
> species. Just saw a "new sub-species" Brazilian Orchid described that
> underwent a morphological change in it's third year, so it
> "qualified" Guess that'd make balding men a sub-species?

   No, it would make the name _Homo sapiens sapiens baldie_ into
a useless synonym of _Homo sapiens sapiens_. The neat thing is, we
are the ones who decide if a new name will be upheld or taken down.
That thing about the Brazilian Orchid is a work in progress. That's
why you have to leave a paper trail so the next author can continue
with the work of taxonomy and apply any new knowledge to the old names.

Dave Evans

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