Taxonomical Anarchy Hampers Conservation

To: Dave Torr <>
Subject: Taxonomical Anarchy Hampers Conservation
From: Laurie Knight <>
Date: Thu, 1 Jun 2017 08:03:15 +0000
That’s not the point of the paper

"There is reasonable agreement among taxonomists that a species should 
represent a distinct evolutionary lineage. But there is none about how a 
lineage should be defined. 'Species' are often created or dismissed 
arbitrarily, according to the individual taxonomist's adherence to one of at 
least 30 definitions. Crucially, there is no global oversight of taxonomic 
decisions — researchers can 'split or lump' species with no consideration of 
the consequences.”

On 1 Jun 2017, at 6:00 pm, Dave Torr <> wrote:

> If one accepts evolution then surely the corollary is that species change 
> over time. Else there would probably only be one species of bird
> Or am I missing something?
> On 1 Jun 2017 17:58, "Laurie Knight" <> wrote:
> Steve Garnett and Les Christidis say
> "The assumption that species are fixed entities1 underpins every 
> international agreement on biodiversity conservation, all national 
> environmental legislation and the efforts of many individuals and 
> organizations to safeguard plants and animals. Yet for a discipline aiming to 
> impose order on the natural world, taxonomy (the classification of complex 
> organisms) is remarkably anarchic.”
> See today’s edition of Nature: 
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