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Abstract Detail

Conservation Biology

Zander, Richard [1].

Epistemological Extinction Threatens Rare and Endangered Taxa.

Phylogenetic analysis is problematic, being axiomatic, and long touted as a theory-free, discovery process. The cladogram is considered a discoverable fundamental pattern in nature, following the rationale of structuralism in other fields. All non-phylogenetically informative information is "mapped" or otherwise relegated to the cladogram by phylogeneticists. Because the axiomatic quasi-mathematical method deals only with synchronic (present-day) relationships, the model of one taxon being derived from another taxon of the same or lower taxonomic rank is wrongly not considered, macroevolution being considered nonaxiomatic scientific theory thus mere narrative. Microevolution (descent with modification of traits) substitutes in cladograms for macroevolution (descent with evolution of taxa). Strict phylogenetic monophyly ensures that macroevolution is never modeled in cladograms through taxonomic recognition of paraphyletic groups. The result is that some taxa that are paraphyletic or apophyletic on molecular trees are threatened with (1) complete loss of their scientific names (underlexicalization), (2) downgrading of rank to force them into taxonomically and evolutionarily different ancestral or derived groups, or (3) burial among a proliferation of molecularly distinguishable "cryptic" taxa (overlexicalization). Some of these threatened taxa are rare and endangered and all are evolutionarily distinctive by expressed traits. Loss of names stymies conservation efforts by hiding or masking important taxa, or eliminating them entirely from consideration. Examples are given.

Broader Impacts:

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Res Botanica
Modern Evolutionary Systematics Web Site

1 - Missouri Botanical Garden, Science and Conservation, PO Box 299, St. Louis, MO, 63166, USA


Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Topics
Session: P
Location: Khorassan Ballroom/Chase Park Plaza
Date: Monday, July 11th, 2011
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PCB006
Abstract ID:48


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