Linnaeus’ Legacy No. 15: Sorting it all out

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This is my favorite web carnival, and this is the best version of it yet, owing to the outstanding submission we have this month!

i-bc0d46e81351a3a74cabd227fd2d5fa5-darwintree2.gifWelcome to the 15th Monthly edition of the blog carnival Linnaeus’ Legacy. I thought about being cute and fancy for this edition of the carnival, but instead, I decided to be very systematic.

(de – dum – dum)

So we will work our way from foundations to theory to taxonomy, and within the taxonomic sphere we will sort out all the organisms by type and deal with them as such appropriately. And then, we will have one little item related to extinction. The place where diversification ends.

On with the show:

The home page for Linnaeus’ Legacy is here. The most recent edition of the carnival, which is still valid, is here, at Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog. The next edition will be hosted at Seeds Aside.
We begin with a little theory and practice:

John Wilkins, the highly enigmatic big white gorilla, has provided us with a highly philosophical piece. NOT. No, that’s what it’s about. Not. See, like this:

It is often said that one of the most significant discoveries in mathematics was the concept of zero, in the Indus valley sometime in the pre-Christian era. An equally important concept in logic is the operator NOT.

And it might not seem like it, but Wilkins’ post is totally about systematics. And it is located here, at Evolving Thoughts.

Christopher Taylor asks What’s in a Name? in an essay about Phylogenetic hypotheses, taxa and nomina in zoology. Seriously. Think about this for a second: “ranks are not comparable between non-hierarchically related taxa. A “family” of birds is not comparable to a “family” of plants.” Does that not bother you all the time? is this not the fundamental issue with the modern pragmatic conflation of Linnaeus’ taxonomy and DNA derived phylogenies? Go read Christopher’s post. I promise you, only about a third of it is in Latin.

David Williams and Malte Ebach wrote a book called Foundations of Systematics and Biogeography, and are now serializing it on their blog. That book was not cheap, and now you get it for free. How cool is that? It begins with this: QOR: Relationship / Intrinsic & Extrinsic thinking [Part 1]

OK, on to the organisms…

The Plants

Did you know that Dahlias have more DNA than coffee?


Then we move on to the insects

Cicindela lengi vs. Cicindela formosa … This post by Beetles in the Bush is a fine tuned comparison of the habits and distribution of two almost identical beetles. … “Something about the way it flew gave me pause, however, and after capturing and looking closely at it in my hand I realized”


Now we have the vertebrates, sorted roughly into smaller taxonomic categories

The littlest sauropodomorph? is a post at Dracovenator ….about basal sauropodomorphs from South Africa?… In 1918 Sidney Haughton named a small collection of tiny sauropodomorph bones from the Elliot Formation, near the town of Maclear, Eastern Cape, as Thecodontosaurus minor….

PodBlack Cat asks us to Drink To Pink Iguanas! … This is a drink, a hybrid of a martini and something ele, I think, inspired by recent news stories. PB C actually gives us two different recipes and the both look worth trying.

Now that we are suitably refreshed, let’s revisit Dracovenator blog once again and have a look at More temnospondyls: old big eyes from the Moenkopihas … “Temnospondyls are among the several groups I’ve dabbled in, and they certainly deserve more attention than they get. They are the most speciose and long-ranging of the ancient tetrapod groups. I don’t intend to open the can of worms surrounding what exactly a ‘tetrapod’ is…” Yeah right, then Adam Yates totally opens the can of worms. Have a look.

“One of the most frustrating factors in studying early descriptions of apes is the multiple meanings of words like “baboon,” “Jocko,” “Pongo,” “mandrill,” and “Orang-Outang.”” … Funny, I was just saying that to Amanda the other day. And Laelaps is exploring the same question in his post: Will the real “Orang-Outang” please stand up?

I’ve always said that if Darwin had collected the birds from Hawaii instead of the Galapagos, the study of evolutionary theory would have … well, different in the early years. The Hawaiian birds are the Galapagos finches on mescaline, or something. Christopher Taylor at Catalogue of Organisms trips out with a post called The Tomb of the Unknown Honeyeater … a post with no fewer than six items in the scholarly bibliography.

I am the finch wench, a blog, gives us “Oops, they did it again” which addresses the same exact topic as Christopher Taylor. “They played with appearances and got lost in the convergent evolution game.”

Grrrrrrrlll Scientist also addresses the Honeyeater problem with: When is a Honeyeater not a Honeyeater? The Tricks of Convergent Evolution … “Every once in awhile, I will read a scientific paper that astonishes and delights me so much that I can hardly wait to tell you all about it.” … and she does, and very nicely.

10,000 birds’ Mike makes us all feel really bad that our lives our so boring because we did not get to go Birding Up and Down the Rio Grande Valley with a really good camera and actual photographic talent. Post includes one of the best pictures of a hooded oriole you will ever see.

But what about parrots? Grrrrrrrrrll Scientist explores the question of What Parrots Tell us About the Origin and Evolution of Birds. … “One of the most contentious issues among scientists who study the evolution of birds is identifying precisely when the modern birds (Neornithes) first appeared.” … indeed.

Charlie at 10,000 birds trains his blogospheric binoculars on‘kamtschatschensis’ Common Gulls, Japan: Jan 2008 ..”As often seems to be the case a debate is currently raging on various birding fora concerning the subspecific identification of out-of-range Common Gulls…” and Charlie’s post is like a bucket full of gasoline thrown on the smoldering discussion. With excellent photographs, of course.



And last, and least, my own meager contribution about anti-diversification (extinction) and lack of diversity caused by the presence of mainly cosmopolitan species in one African ecosystem, thinly disguised as a bad romance novel: The Crater and the Crocodile

Have you read the breakthrough novel of the year? When you are done with that, try:

In Search of Sungudogo by Greg Laden, now in Kindle or Paperback
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8 thoughts on “Linnaeus’ Legacy No. 15: Sorting it all out

  1. It was overkill on Honeyeaters, though they were already dead! Thanks for the composition, and thanks for including mine despite its redundancy.

  2. Did the coffee and dahlias study look at Spanish coffee or only American? Maybe Starbucks is the problem not the solution

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