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In the centuries since the demise of Linneaus, Science has fallen into perversion and niggling higgledy-piggledy. Nowhere is this more evident than in the ridiculous edifice of biological nomenclature. Consider that some 75% of all macroscopic animal species are lumped together as Order: Coleoptera,
whilst a measling few species receive all of Phylum: Vertebrata to themselves. This is like putting an ocean in your bathtub and your beer in Ethiopia! This cannot stand. Like the workers of Spain impacted by the Diet of Wurms, we cry "No pasaran!"
Hencehitherforth we demonstrate how mankind would be classified under the New Linneata:
Kingdom: Coleoptalia, or animals, such as Beetles
Phylum: Coleopteria, or animals with legs, such as Beetles
(other: Spongislimacia, slimy legless animals)
Class: Coleopturana, or coleopterians without tails, such as Beetles
(other: Hirsuturana, hairy-tailed coleopterians)
Order: Coleocephala, or coleopturans with a head, such as Beetles
(other: Amorphocephala, coleopturans without a distinct head)
Family: Coleoptidae, or coleocephalans with two eyes, such as Beetles
(other: Multioptidae, coleocephalans with a multitude of eyes)
Genus: Coleopterus, or coleoptids with biting mouthparts, such as Beetles
(other: Slurperius, coleoptids with sucking mouthparts)
Species: Coleopterus terrestraquaticus, the beetle that can both walk and swim
Subspecies: Coleopterus terrestraquaticus nonvolens, the flightless beetle that can both walk and swim (formerly Homo sapiens)
Thus we see that, properly classified, mankind is merely an obscure subspecies of flightless beetle. Let's have a little humblosity, please.
And I told you that story...
...so I could tell you this one: an excellent parody of pseudoscientific idiocy. [Dog Ed, Sep 27 2001, last modified Oct 21 2004]
Our closest relative
Legs, no tail, head, 2 eyes, beak, swims and walks, probably flightless [pottedstu, Sep 27 2001, last modified Oct 21 2004]
A real-life alternative to Linnean taxonomy. [egnor, Sep 27 2001, last modified Oct 21 2004]
The animal game
This is an online version of the famous old "game". Participants build a taxonomy of animals by answering yes/no questions and posing a discriminator. [egnor, Sep 27 2001, last modified Oct 21 2004]
||Very funny Rods, I'll have to tell all my zoologist mates that.
||DogEd: exactly what proportion of animals (such as beetles) do not have heads? Still, it's nice to know we're in the same subspecies as the octopus (see link).
||Your point that classification schemes based on physical characteristics are entirely arbitrary (and usually reflect the self-centered biases of the classifier) is a good one. (See link to the "animal game".) Nevertheless, biologists apparently find classification useful, and Linnaeus' taxonomy seems to work as well as anything.
||See link to "cladistics" for an alternative biological classification system based on (believed) evolutionary ancestry. The problem here is that evolutionary ancestry is not always known.
The task of understanding in general why people classify things they way they do ("common characteristics" seems to be the least of it) seems to be a thorny problem central to semiotics.
||that animal game-'does it fly spaceships?'
||PeterSealy: are you not a little worried that not only do they claim 5=6, they do so with no explanation, justification, or spurious distraction techniques?
||Actually, the New Linneataean revolution is fraught with paradox. We find that in attempting to reclassify the animal kingdom based on demographics we have fallen immediately into differentation based on structure--merely borrowing a brush from Peter to tar Paul. The Revolutionary Council will implode. The Revolution will not be televised.
||[egnor: In all seriousness, yes. Common characteristics was what Linneaus had on his workbench, I guess, and though we now have such implements as DNA analysis and an expanded fossil record his original instinct--and intelligence--seems to have proved quite sound indeed.]
||[Peter: OK, twist my arm...Ow, ow, no more m-f-d. Thanks for the kind words.]
Sep 27 2001, last modified Sep 28 2001|| |
||I think the Linnean system was based on some idea of an ordered animal kingdom (hm -- animal 'kingdom' -- even that seems to outdated) that is a table structure, where each column header (Kingdom, Phylum, etc) should somehow be comparable. But really they're not. What is more accurate is an infintely branching 'tree of life', beginning with the first organism. However creating a nomenclature for this may be difficult.