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Thread: Taxanomy

  1. #1 Taxanomy 
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    what are some of the difficulties and differences between classyfing and inamimate objects and living organism? Is it easier or more difficult to classify living or inanimate objects? Why? If you knew nothing about each object's function, would that have made a difference in your classification scheme?


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      Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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      If you know nothing about function, you are left with form. Form is a very good method of classification and very useful. There is much that can be learned from creating a series of forms in things like pottery or stone tools, for instance. This is actually called seriation and the theory, in a nutshell, is that form becomes more complex with time and styles will overlap.

      But in biology, both form and function are necessary. I imagine that Lamarck first focused on form and later, as functions were determined, the taxonomy was improved. Molars of early primates, for example, follow some very gradual changes in form from species to species through time and the function of these changes can be inferred. From eating small insects with molars of high-cusps and bilophodont form to herbivorous diet with low-cusped molars for grinding plant material.


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      Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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      A difference that occurs to me is that the classification of inanimate objects is arguably more artificial than that of living organisms.
      Certainly the classic Linnaen system as applied today seeks to identify real relationships between different organisms. In contrast, when we consider the classification of rocks, we find a variety of systems in use that may look at structure and texture (form, if you will), or at mode of formation (analogous, perhaps, to function), or some partial, and usually ineffective, amalgam.
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