Sound and Fury

Signifying nothing

Terminological Overload.

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I’m all for terminology. It often makes discussion easier if you can call upon a specialised vocabulary. But it can also make your point utterly impenetrable. Here are two examples from a paper I read today that make me think there is too much terminology in biology.

“biological species” may be paraphyletic assemblages of populations united only by a plesiomorphy.

Using synapomorphy as evidence of monophyly requires that the polarity of character be determined.

Um. Yes? Anyway, the paper these gems are taken from is wrong. So it’s not really important.

(The paper is Mishler and Donoghue (1982) Species Concepts: A Case for Pluralism in Systematic Zoology)


Written by Seamus

April 24, 2008 at 12:27 am

Posted in annoying, science

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