Such expressions as that famous one of Linnæus, and which we often meet with in a more or less concealed form, that the characters do not make the genus, but that the genus gives the characters, seem to imply that something more is included in our classification, than mere resemblance. I believe that something more is included; and that propinquity of descent,—the only known cause of the similarity of organic beings,—is the bond, hidden as it is by various degrees of modification, which is partially revealed to us by our classifications (Darwin, 1859, p. 413f).

Thursday, 18 October 2007

The new Blue Book?

It certainly is blue but Foundations of Systematics & Biogeography focuses on the history of comparative biology from Goethe to 21st century systematics and biogeography. The book is the history of our field from Ernst Haeckel to Adolf Naef, a rather neglected story that is unfairly dismissed as "typology" and forgotten. Perhaps this is Mayr's great undoing of what seems to be the foundations of 21st century systematics and biogeography.

The book is a combination of our collaborative efforts since 2001. During that time David and I have tried to unravel what is for us key-stones in our understanding of comparative biology. We are still mulling over a few, such as the role of homology in molecular data and why paraphyly is still the biggest problem in systematics. We hope that the book and this blog will help people try the unravel that same history.

The book is available from Springer in December. Watch this space for more news!

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