The fate of the early adopters

Geoff Read g.read at niwa.cri.nz
Mon Sep 6 22:44:57 EST 1999


Hello Annelida,

"A more serious problem ... is evanescent names. In active periods of 
phylogenetic investigation, a given phylogenetic hypothesis may last only 
until the next publication, and some taxa based on it ... may become absurd 
or redundant units." - B. Roth, Veliger 41(3):295  

I think we are experiencing this now in the annelids and related groups, and 
I admit I have been as gullible (if that's the word for it) as anyone else, 
though I have not (yet) ventured into print with Scolecida or Palpata.   

Some people who have done the equivalent are:

Miner, B. G., E. Sandord, R. R. Strathmann, B. Pernet, & R. B. Emlet. 
1999. Functional and evolutionary implications of opposed bands, big 
mouths, and extensive oral ciliation in larval opheliids and echiurids 
(Annelida).— Biological Bulletin, 197:14-25.  

According to this paper  (and its referees presumably) Phylum Echiura is 
now definitely the Echiuridae in Phylum Annelida.  

I don't suppose it matters in the context of a paper on behaviour of larvae of 
2 worm species that they might have got it wrong or at least have been 
premature, but I think I would have been a little more circumspect, and I'm 
also bemused at how one person's speculation can become another's de 
facto classification in one hop. Evidently  taxonomic procedures are 
redundant or not known and the new ICZN code might as well not exist.   

Be careful out there. All is not as cut and dried as it might seem. :-)

--
  Geoff Read <g.read at niwa.cri.nz>


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