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The Hunting of the SNaRC: A Snarky Solution to the Species Problem

Mishler, Brent D and Wilkins, John S. (2018) The Hunting of the SNaRC: A Snarky Solution to the Species Problem. Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology, 10 (001). ISSN 2475-3025

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We argue that the logical outcome of the cladistics revolution in biological systematics, and the move towards rankless phylogenetic classification of nested monophyletic groups as formalized in the PhyloCode, is to eliminate the species rank along with all the others and simply name clades. We propose that the lowest level of formally named clade be the SNaRC, the Smallest Named and Registered Clade. The SNaRC is an epistemic level in the classification, not an ontic one. Naming stops at that level because there is no currently acceptable evidence for clades within it, not because no smaller clades exist. Later, included clades may be named. They would then become the SNaRCs, while the original SNaRC would keep its original name. We argue that all theoretical tasks of biology, in evolution and ecology, as well as practical tasks such as conservation assessment, are better approached using this rankless phylogenetic approach.

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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Mishler, Brent
Wilkins, John
Keywords: explanation, monophyly, phenomena, species, species concept, taxonomy
Depositing User: Nora Boyd
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2018 16:19
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2020 13:51
Item ID: 14546
Journal or Publication Title: Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.3998/ptpbio.16039257.0010.001
Date: 2018
Volume: 10
Number: 001
ISSN: 2475-3025

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