johngrimshaw@tiscali.co.uk johngrimshaw@tiscali.co.uk
Sun, 28 Mar 2004 13:20:51 PST
 To answer Rodger Whitlock's questions:
> Is that "c" a "k" or an "s"? Are we to say assis or akkis?

Soft C will probably be what is used, even if K would be more accurate in
proper Latin pronunciation.

> >
> In saying that Acis is "a clearly defined group of its own", is the
> implication that it is as distinct from Leucojum sensu strictu as
> Galanthus? Or could Acis be a cousin of Leucojum?
> Let me restate that: does the study conclude that Galanthus and
> Leucoum sensu strictu are more closely related than either is to
> Acis?

This is the case: Leucojum and Galanthus are more closely related than
Leucojum and Acis. But all three genera are very close and one of the
taxonomic options considered by the authors of the paper was to lump
everything into Galanthus - a move that would serve no good purpose
whatsoever, so the sensible alternative to recognise three distinct genera
was taken.

> One thing: one must be cautious in accepting cladistic results. The
> method is very popular, but it must be remembered that the algorithms
> do not guarantee best fit, as it were, but only close-to-best.

This is of course true, but with molecular data, and accurate biometry of
morphology, there is at least a set of repeatable data (i.e. the stuff
science runs on), quite unlike the 'feelings' of traditional taxonomy. It is
easy to find ways of knocking a technique whose methods are not understood
or whose results appreciated.

John Grimshaw

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