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Protoctista v. Protista

Mark Siddall mes at zoo.toronto.edu
Fri Mar 25 01:01:41 EST 1994

In article <9403241712.AA19979 at ralph.sybgate.sybase.com> kpl at SYBASE.COM (kevin patrick lynch) writes:
>Which one is preferred these days and why?
>Protoctista v. Protista.

My impression is that Protoctista is a Margulis-ism.  Certainly championed 
by her and related zealots.
My preference is for neither really as non-metazoan non-metaphytan eukaryotes
are not a "real" group.  Perhaps being the quintessential paraphyletic
taxonomic assemblage.  The common ancestor of protists (or protoctists as
the case may be) is also the ancestor of all eukaryotes.  The recent
change of the name of the Journal of Protozoology to the Journal of 
Eukaryotic Microbiology is laudable in this respect.
Any taxonomic term applied to unicellular eukaryotes is simply arbitrary
and there is no biological/phylogenetic rationale for choosing among
terms in the face of absence of monophyly.

Mark Siddall



     The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance --

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