Evolutionary Biology

, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 309–311 | Cite as

Pragmatism and Rigour can Coexist in Taxonomy

  • H. C. J. Godfray
  • S. J. Mayo
  • M. J. Scoble

Two recent essays in this journal, de Carvalho et al. (2007; 2008), have questioned our writings on the role of web-based taxonomy in modern biodiversity science. We reply briefly here and argue that the commentaries misunderstand and misinterpret what we have written, something for which we must clearly take part of the blame.

de Carvalho et al. (2007) suggest that we believe that the problems in modern taxonomy are “mostly due to the lack of an adequate cyberstructure to disseminate its much needed products”; that professional taxonomists have “grown accustomed to being labelled not only as mere ‘service providers’ for the biological sciences, but ones that are becoming irrelevant due to obsolescence”. Our writing and that of others “reveals a traditional misunderstanding that regularly emanates from the more ‘applied’ side of biology”, an “‘end-user’ attitude”, unaware that taxa “are notmere end-products—they are hypotheses of relationships”, we are “not familiar with the...


Pragmatic Argument Current Taxonomy Relative Small Size Modern Taxonomy Century Nomenclatural Problem 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. C. J. Godfray
    • 1
  • S. J. Mayo
    • 2
  • M. J. Scoble
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  2. 2.Royal Botanic Gardens, KewRichmondUK
  3. 3.Department of EntomologyNatural History MuseumLondonUK

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