Species-Scape: very cool, but…

Larry Moran directs us to have a look at Species-Scape at the Cornell website. It’s great.

But…

1. It has one group of “prokaryotes”, Kingdom Monera, which is pretty old school. (Same goes for “Protists“). You don’t like dividing the Archaea and Bacteria? Ok, but how about a note that many people now consider this one of the deepest divisions of life? If they can mention something as esoteric to most readers as the phylogenetic species concept, surely they could include a brief line about, you know, phylogenetic groupings at the highest level.

2. And I quote:

This is a taxonomic view of life on earth — based on systematic classifications — which challenges our typical “mammal-centric” understanding of the world around us. Today there is increasing awareness of the enormous diversity of life on earth, but few people probably appreciate the fact that the Species-Scape is completely dominated by multilegged (more than 4 legs) and legless animals, fungi and microbes. Mammals, with a mere 4,000 species, are dwarfed by “lower” animals.

Do we really have to use a misconception to correct a misconception?


2 comments to Species-Scape: very cool, but…

  • Jonathan Badger

    It has one group of “prokaryotes”, Kingdom Monera, which is pretty old school. (Same goes for “Protists”). You don’t like dividing the Archaea and Bacteria? Ok, but how about a note that many people now consider this one of the deepest divisions of life?

    Well, I’m glad that despite being a Canadian, you don’t subscribe to the “Canadian School” of phylogenetics! (A historical note — in the 1980s and early 1990s, many Canadians such as RS Gupta, Brian Golding, and yes, Larry, favored HSP70 over more accepted phylogenetic markers — as this marker doesn’t support the 3-domains, this impeded Canadian acceptance of the distinction between Bacteria and Archaea)

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  • Andrew Staroscik

    I agree with your view of monera as a group and would like to add the question is “algae” really a proper phylogentic group? From my (limited) experience the term is usually defined operationally and the group it describes is polyphyletic.

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