New Interpretations of Ape and Human Ancestry

Part of the series Advances in Primatology pp 151-177

Cladistics and the Classification of the Great Apes

  • A. G. KlugeAffiliated withMuseum of Zoology and Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, The University of Michigan

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Nineteenth century epistemologists identified the limits of exact knowledge and the detection of the laws of nature with the “natural system” of classification. In particular, William Whewell (1847), John Stuart Mill (1862), and W. Stanley Jevons (1874) stressed the importance of classification in the discovery of natural groups. Their contemporary, Charles Darwin, also argued that genealogy forms the basis for the natural system of classification of species, as evidenced by his letter (Darwin, 1857) to Thomas Huxley (see epigraph) and the repeated emphasis placed on genealogy in his widely read and influential books On The Origin of Species (Darwin, 1859) and The Descent Of Man (Darwin, 1871).