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Am I a Cladist?

Mike Syvanen syvanen at ucdavis.edu
Fri Feb 5 14:35:20 EST 1999

Joe Felsenstein wrote:

> These are just peripheral commentary on various posts.  The
> main issue is whether we can come to dome agreement how to define
> "cladistics" or "cladists".  I suspect we can't.

This series of posts has illustrated an interesting problem in terminology. The
terms "clade", "cladistics" and "cladogram" could find general application in
taxonomic and evolutionary studies and, for a while, I used them to describe the
kinds of molecular evolutionary studies that I have done.  These words are
certainly more convenient than "taxonomic assemblage", " taxonomic sytematics", and
"phylogenetic tree".  However, the narrow definitions and the historical baggage
associated with the root "clad" makes it difficult to use those terms.  Maybe as
new people just start using a more streamlined vocabulary, the problem will be

Mike Syvanen

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