Sun, 03 Feb 2013 19:27:13 PST
James wrote,

"*Instead **you could just use numbers representing how related or not
species are*."

This scheme was conceived to deal with the inconvenience of ranking taxa.
If we can say what groups should be recognized as monophyletic lineages and
how they are related to other lineages then the phylogeneticist's work is
done. The argument is that the  tradition of *ranking*-- designating a
group as a subgenus, section or subfamily in relation to others-- is
immaterial. The idea is admirable in a way for what it recognizes as being
superfluous to theoretical understanding. The problem, as James notes, is
when this scheme meets the real world and the needs of real people.

I believe this idea was hatched by systematists at Harvard some years ago.
I'm not sure if it is still being promoted.


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