Life Science

Classification: Linnaean v. Phylogenetic

Teachers in my NJ middle school are discussing how to teach classification. While some teachers are most comfortable and familiar with the Linnaean system, current evolutionary science is emphasizing the merits of phylogenetic classification (grouping organisms in trees called clades based on evolutionary relationships). http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/side_0_0/evo_10 Teaching clades and cladograms makes sense to me, but others want to stick with the Linnaean system. Our state standard says: "Anatomical evidence supports evolution and provides additional detail about the sequence of branching of various lines of descent." There is no mention of Linnaean classification in our current standard or in the new Next Generation Science Standards. Should we switch to phylogenetic classification?

Beth Topinka
Beth Topinka
1205 Activity Points

Here's another link explaining merits of phylogenetic classification. http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/phylogenetics_04

Beth Topinka
Beth Topinka
1205 Activity Points

Phylogenetics is the correct way, but we're still entrenched into the Linnaean system. Scientists still use the Linnaean system for classification even though, in some senses, it should be done away with (nightmare for Entomologists). I teach both because both are still used, but the Linnaean system is their for convenience. I would say the only thing that would be wrong would be to NOT teach cladistics.

Devin Bowen
Devin Bowen
40 Activity Points

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