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We have to use your names

James Mahaffy mahaffy at dordt.edu
Sat Mar 26 10:44:08 EST 1994

> To: protista at net.bio.net
> Subject: Re: Keep protista

> |> If there is no strong need to change the name please stick with the
> |> names that have been used a lot.
> Sorry James, but John Corliss called the events of the past decade "the Protist Revolution" 
> for a reason.  Many, perhaps even most, of the "traditional" names in circulation for protist
> groups ("Phytoflagellata", for instance) represent taxonomic errors orders of magnitude
> greater than calling whales fish.  And you wouldn't last long making that mistake while 

I think Charles missed my point.  I was referring to two previous post
that were  talking about change the name protista and indicating that
it was polyphyletic group anyway so there was less reason for the name
change. In that case I think there is good reason to stick with the name
that has been around. 

Yes I did growl about protista taxonomy but Charles flame missed my
> |> I am not a protista specialist, but I
> |> spend a lot of time teaching Zoology.  Whatever their phylogeny we still
> |> need names to associate with the whole 
> |> group, when introducing biology
> |> students to the invertebrates.  There is too much tendency for splitting
> |> and new names as it is and that DOES NOT HELP COMMUNICATION with the
> |> non-specialist..  

Unlike Charles assumption, I teach Zoology responsibly using established
handle on the groups and be able to find the right ones in the
literature.  But if I look at the classification in Hickman, I can not
require the students to know all those names (we still have to make it
thought the chordates).  My strategy is to pick out 4 or 5 of the more
abundant or more economically important groups and have them know them
with the right names.  I know you are not going to go back to four
classes with one phylum - but we still have to make sure that all our
students know something about the groups - and in comparison to other
invertebrate groups the protista taxonomy is complicated. If some one
who teaches Zoology has some other ways of teaching basic taxonomy let
me know. 

I still content (and I am a specialist in some other areas) that there
is a tendency toward increasing splitting over time and ALL of it may
not be helpful. 
James F. Mahaffy                   e-mail: mahaffy at dordt.edu
Biology Department                 phone: 712 722-6279
Dordt College                      FAX 712 722-1198
Sioux Center, Iowa 51250

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