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Darwin-L Message Log 7:92 (March 1994)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

Note: Additional publications on evolution and the historical sciences by the Darwin-L list owner are available on SSRN.


<7:92>From DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu  Wed Mar 30 21:41:40 1994

Date: Wed, 30 Mar 1994 22:43:10 -0500 (EST)
From: DARWIN@iris.uncg.edu
Subject: Re: inquiry: the history of botanical phylogenetics 1860-1890
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro

Thomas Soderqvist asks about the history of early phylogenetic works in
botany, and about the work of Eugenius Warming in particular.  I don't know
any useful references on Warming, but there is a fine paper by Darwin-L
member Peter Stevens that could help with the general topic:

  Stevens, P. F.  1984.  Metaphors and typology in the development of
  botanical systematics 1690-1960, or the art of putting new wine in old
  bottles.  _Taxon_, 33:169-211.

Thomas remarks that the history of the transition to phylogenetic or
evolutionary systematics in botany in the years after Darwin has not been
terribly well studied.  A semi-serious response would be that there really
wasn't any transition at that time, and hence there isn't much to study.
The real impact of phylogeny/history on systematics has only occurred in the
last thirty years or so with the development of cladistic analysis.  This is
of course an exaggeration, but it does contain a kernel of truth, and it
is the reason for Peter's phrase "putting new [phylogenetic] wine in old
[taxonomic] bottles."  The impact of evolution on systematics is indeed a
very interesting historical subject.

Bob O'Hara, Darwin-L list owner

Robert J. O'Hara (darwin@iris.uncg.edu)
Center for Critical Inquiry and Department of Biology
100 Foust Building, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Greensboro, North Carolina 27412 U.S.A.

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