AN OVERVIEW OF CLADISTIC APPLICATIONS

  • Martin L. Christoffersen
Palavras-chave: Reference system, Hierarchy of life, Hennigian synthesis, Patterns in published data, Morphology and molecules, Eukaryota, Sistema de referência, hierarquia da vida, sintese Hennigiana, padrões em dados publicados, morfologia e moleculas

Resumo

Circa 2486 applied cladistic papers have been published up to the year 1992: 776 (31%) to the insects, 771 (31%) to the vertebrates, 332 (13%) to the plants, 294 (12%) to the remaining arthropods and 313 (13%) to all the remaining organisms. Most of these applications are at low taxonomic levels. A broad outline of vertebrate, insect and plant evolution has been obtained, but relationships of these groups to the remaining taxa at the next successively higher taxonomic level shave been only cursorily approached. Within the Animalia, the positions of many smaller phyla remain controversial and the closest relatives of such large taxa as the Mollusca, Arthropoda and Radialia remain unknown. Too many nonmonophyletic higher taxa still recur in the system. Lack of progress at the higher taxonomic levels may be due to (1) the reductionist belief that systems haveto be built upwards from populations and species, and (2) the empiricist attitude that specimens have to be examined for the obtainment of reliable results. I suggest that it is urgently necessary to attempt a true summary of all available published holomorphological information under Hennigian principles. We may in this way more rapidly obtain a general reference system for historical biology and a sounder basis for the development of macroevolutionary theory.
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