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Biological Systematics : The State of the Art - Alessandro Minelli

Biological Systematics

The State of the Art

Paperback Published: 25th August 1998
ISBN: 9780412364402
Number Of Pages: 388

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To some potential readers of this book the description of Biological System­ atics as an art may seem outdated and frankly wrong. For most people art is subjective and unconstrained by universal laws. While one picture, play or poem may be internally consistent comparison between different art products is meaningless except by way of the individual artists. On the other hand modern Biological Systematics - particularly phenetics and cladistics - is offered as objective and ultimately governed by universal laws. This implies that classifications of different groups of organisms, being the products of systematics, should be comparable irrespective of authorship. Throughout this book Minelli justifies his title by developing the theme that biological classifications are, in fact, very unequal in their expressions of the pattern and processes of the natural world. Specialists are imbibed with their own groups and tend to establish a consensus of what constitutes a species or a genus, or whether it should be desirable to recognize sub­ species, cultivars etc. Ornithologists freely recognize subspecies and rarely do bird genera contain more than 10 species. On the other hand some coleopterists and botanists work with genera with over 1500 species. This asymmetry may reflect a biological reality; it may express a working practicality, or simply an historical artefact (older erected genera often contain more species). Rarely are these phenomena questioned.

Systems and classifications
Systematics and taxonomyp. 3
Classification versus systemp. 4
Biological classifications from Andrea Cesalpino to the New Systematicsp. 5
Evolutionary systematicsp. 7
Numerical taxonomyp. 7
Hennig's phylogenetic systematicsp. 8
Contrasting systematic schoolsp. 9
Towards a natural system of living organismsp. 11
Some steps in comparative biology
Characters as 'symptoms' for recognizing taxap. 15
Characters for choicep. 16
Homologyp. 18
Homoplasyp. 23
Character codingp. 24
Monophyly, paraphyly, polyphylyp. 25
Determining character polarityp. 28
Cladograms and treesp. 32
Numerical methods for the reconstruction of phylogenyp. 33
Ancestorsp. 37
Fossils and cladistic analysisp. 38
Grouping and rankingp. 39
Phylogeny versus adaptationp. 42
Biochemical and molecular systematics
Micromoleculesp. 44
Macromoleculesp. 46
The species
Species conceptsp. 62
Taxonomic diversity within the speciesp. 72
Hybridsp. 75
Speciationp. 76
Resources and media
Human resourcesp. 87
Institutionsp. 89
Literaturep. 92
Nomenclaturep. 96
The inventory of natural diversity
How many species do we know?p. 107
Continuing discoveryp. 125
How many species are still to be discovered?p. 126
Towards the system
Kingdoms and phylap. 130
'Prokaryotes'p. 133
The major groups of eukaryotesp. 135
Fungip. 137
'Protists'p. 139
Metazoansp. 140
Placozoansp. 142
Spongesp. 142
Cnidariansp. 143
Ctenophoransp. 144
Platyhelminthsp. 144
Gnathostomulidsp. 145
Mesozoansp. 145
Aschelminthsp. 145
Pogonophoransp. 146
Annelidsp. 147
Molluscsp. 148
Arthropods, excluding insectsp. 149
Insectsp. 153
Onychophorans, tardigrades and pentastomidsp. 154
Bryozoans, brachiopods and phoronidsp. 155
Deuterostomes, excluding chordatesp. 155
Chordates, excluding vertebratesp. 156
Vertebratesp. 157
Green plants, excluding angiospermsp. 164
Angiospermsp. 165
Interviews on the daily work of systematists: problems and trends
Specialist groups as natural groupsp. 168
Generap. 169
Speciesp. 173
Infraspecific taxap. 176
Charactersp. 180
From field work to monographp. 182
The unequal distribution of taxonomic diversity
The very large generap. 185
Size distributions of higher taxap. 194
Domesticated animals and cultivated plants
Taxonomy and nomenclature of domesticated animalsp. 198
Taxonomy and nomenclature of cultivated plantsp. 202
Some dangerous trends, and a hope for the futurep. 207
App. 1 Zoological checklists and cataloguesp. 215
App. 2 Mohn's (1984) general classification of living organismsp. 218
App. 3 'Provisional classification' of the Protista, according to Corlissp. 221
App. 4 Phyla and classes of the Protoctista (Corliss' Protista) according to Margulis et al. (1990)p. 222
App. 5 Mohn's (1984) classification of animalsp. 224
App. 6 Nielsen's (1985) classification of the Animaliap. 226
App. 7 Ehler's (1985) system of Plathelminthesp. 228
App. 8 Jamieson's (1988) system of the Oligochaetap. 229
App. 9 Salvini-Plawen's (1980) classification of the Phylum Molluscap. 231
App. 10 Haszprunar's (1986) classification of gastropodsp. 233
App. 11 Weygoldt and Paulus's (1979) system of the Cheliceratap. 234
App. 12 Shultz's (1990) system of the Cheliceratap. 235
App. 13 Schram's (1986) classification of the Crustaceap. 236
App. 14 Starobogatov's (1988) classification of the Crustaceap. 237
App. 15 Hennig's (1969) system of the Insectap. 239
App. 16 Hennig's (1985) system of the Chordatap. 241
App. 17 The major groups of Chordata according to Nelson (1969)p. 243
App. 18 Rosen et al.'s (1981) classification of gnathostome vertebratesp. 245
App. 19 Carroll's (1987) classification of vertebrates, including both extinct and living formsp. 246
App. 20 Lauder and Liem's (1983) classification of living bony fishesp. 252
App. 21 Sibley and Ahlquist's (1990) classification of birdsp. 253
App. 22 Bremer's (1985) cladistic classification of green plantsp. 262
App. 23 Dahlgren's (1989a,b) classification of the flowering plantsp. 263
Referencesp. 270
Author indexp. 334
Subject indexp. 346
Taxonomic indexp. 351
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780412364402
ISBN-10: 0412364409
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 388
Published: 25th August 1998
Publisher: Chapman and Hall
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.39 x 15.6  x 2.11
Weight (kg): 0.56

Earn 496 Qantas Points
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