Biological Systematics

The state of the art

  • Alessandro Minelli

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvi
  2. Problems and Methods

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Alessandro Minelli
      Pages 3-14
    3. Alessandro Minelli
      Pages 15-43
    4. Alessandro Minelli
      Pages 44-61
    5. Alessandro Minelli
      Pages 62-86
    6. Alessandro Minelli
      Pages 87-103
  3. The State of the Art

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 105-105
    2. Alessandro Minelli
      Pages 107-129
    3. Alessandro Minelli
      Pages 130-167
    4. Alessandro Minelli
      Pages 185-197
    5. Alessandro Minelli
      Pages 198-205
  4. Epilogue

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 207-207
    2. Alessandro Minelli
      Pages 209-214
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 215-387

About this book


To some potential readers of this book the description of Biological System­ atics as an art may seem outdated and frankly wrong. For most people art is subjective and unconstrained by universal laws. While one picture, play or poem may be internally consistent comparison between different art products is meaningless except by way of the individual artists. On the other hand modern Biological Systematics - particularly phenetics and cladistics - is offered as objective and ultimately governed by universal laws. This implies that classifications of different groups of organisms, being the products of systematics, should be comparable irrespective of authorship. Throughout this book Minelli justifies his title by developing the theme that biological classifications are, in fact, very unequal in their expressions of the pattern and processes of the natural world. Specialists are imbibed with their own groups and tend to establish a consensus of what constitutes a species or a genus, or whether it should be desirable to recognize sub­ species, cultivars etc. Ornithologists freely recognize subspecies and rarely do bird genera contain more than 10 species. On the other hand some coleopterists and botanists work with genera with over 1500 species. This asymmetry may reflect a biological reality; it may express a working practicality, or simply an historical artefact (older erected genera often contain more species). Rarely are these phenomena questioned.


Adaptation Animalia Chelicerata Crustacea Ctenophora Insecta Plathelminthes biology evolution genetics macromolecules micromolecules phylogeny systematics taxonomy

Authors and affiliations

  • Alessandro Minelli
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di BiologiaUniversita’ degli studi di PadovaPadovaItaly

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 1993
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-0-412-62620-3
  • Online ISBN 978-94-011-9643-7
  • Buy this book on publisher's site