Wednesday, December 17, 2014

My Year of Darwin 12/17/2014: Classification is evolutionary

 Charles Darwin

"Let us look to the mutual affinities of extinct and living species. They all fall into one grand natural system; and this fact is at once explained on the principle of descent."  Charles Darwin, Origin of Species 1st edition (on Kindle)

One of the great advances that Darwin did for biology was convince the scientific world that classification was not arbitrary but reflected evolution. A particular taxon, that name, is a collection of organisms that all share the same common ancestor. 

Super stressed. I need a little Costa Rica today.


  1. I had thought that taxon had become a bit of a swear word in biology, given that many traditional taxons are not actually clades? (The obvious example in your field [in fact I think it came up on your FB page recently] is that reptiles and dinosaurs are taxons which are not clades, unless one is willing to admit that birds are part of those taxons, at which point the taxon stops making much sense.)

  2. Hopefully taxon = clade. But the moment you give a clade a name it become a taxon. A rose is a rose be it a clade or a taxon :)