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An Annotated Linnaean Hierarchy, with Comments on Natural Taxa and Competing Systems

E. O. Wiley
Systematic Zoology
Vol. 28, No. 3 (Sep., 1979), pp. 308-337
DOI: 10.2307/2412585
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2412585
Page Count: 30
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An Annotated Linnaean Hierarchy, with Comments on Natural Taxa and Competing Systems
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Abstract

Some general characteristics of classifications are discussed. The usual components of phylogenetic classifications are species and supraspecific groupings. The concept of natural taxa is discussed in relation to concepts of monophyly espoused by Hennig, Simpson, and Ashlock. It is concluded that only Hennig's concept is internally and externally consistent. Genealogy is discussed in relation to natural taxa. Unique genealogical descent is defended as the only necessary and sufficient criterion for justifying a taxon as natural. The use of non-genealogical characters for justifying natural taxa rests upon two bridge principles which tie character modification to genealogical descent. The only non-genealogical characters which conform to the bridge principles are synapomorphies employed at their correct level of universality. Therefore, it is concluded that natural taxa are monophyletic sensu Hennig. Two rules of phylogenetic classification are stated and three systems which conform to these rules are contrasted. It is concluded that the Linnaean system, suitably amended, can fulfill the role for general biological classifications. Definitions of Linnaean categories are suggested. Nine conventions for classifying phylogenetic trees are presented. These conventions purport to classify phylogenetic trees of any complexity, including ancestral species and taxa of both hybrid and symbiotic origin, in such a way that their phylogenetic relationships are expressed exactly to the level that the hypothesis permits.

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