OLIVER JEFFREY CATLIN Jeffrey.Oliver at Colorado.EDU
Tue Sep 4 11:44:43 EDT 2001

Although if a genus defines a recipocally monophyletic linneage, it is
biologically informative, especially if that clade is defined by some
trait which may have lead to it's radiation.

Jeff Oliver
jeffrey.oliver at

On Tue, 4 Sep 2001, DR. JAMES ADAMS wrote:

> Xi,
> > Perhaps you've explained this already in a previous post and I missed
> > it, but why is Mitoura a genus?
> There have undoubtedly been other responses already to this
> question that I simply haven't read yet (catching up after a Labor
> Day weekend), but I may have a different one.
> 	The answer to this question is simple.  Differences of
> interpretation and opinion.  But there is a more basic underlying
> idea that must be understood.  As far as the biological world is
> concerned, there *is no such thing* as a genus.  A genus, and all
> higher taxonomic catergories are *artificial* constructs used by
> humans to represent some level of relatedness.  Genera, families,
> etc. cannot evolve (with the rare hybridization being the only case
> of some fuzziness) -- only species and populations of species.
> Once species are genetically isolated, what happens to other
> evolutionary lineages that they once were connected to are of no
> importance to the evolution of that lineage (with the exception of
> some kind of ecological connection).
> 	So there will *always be* disagreement on what constitutes a
> genus, family, etc. because they are subjective human constructs.
> 	James
> Dr. James K. Adams
> Dept. of Natural Science and Math
> Dalton State College
> 213 N. College Drive
> Dalton, GA  30720
> Phone: (706)272-4427; fax: (706)272-2533
>  (Georgia Lepidoptera)
> U of Michigan's President James Angell's
>   Secret of Success: "Grow antennae, not horns"
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