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Beyond CladisticsThe Branching of a Paradigm$
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David M. Williams and Sandra Knapp

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780520267725

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520267725.001.0001

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Rooted in Cladistics: Chris Humphries, Conservation—and Beyond?

Rooted in Cladistics: Chris Humphries, Conservation—and Beyond?

(p.46) (p.47) ThreeRooted in Cladistics: Chris Humphries, Conservation—and Beyond?
Beyond Cladistics

Richard I. Vane-Wright

University of California Press

The various contributions that Chris Humphries made to the biodiversity conservation movement during the early 1990s were literally and severally “rooted in cladistics.” Soon after finishing his PhD, Humphries arrived in the Botany Department of the Natural History Museum, London. At that time, the author was very interested in coevolution — he wanted to try to understand the evolution of mimicry by comparing cladograms for mimetic butterflies, their models, and their host plants. Humphries's contributions to what became cladistics soon far outstripped the author's own — and have done so ever since. Humphries and the author got together right at the end of the 1980s, to refine and develop the notion of “critical faunas analysis.” The two men felt they had the beginnings of what Robert May (1990) called for: a “calculus of biodiversity.” Humphries proposed a variant in which terms and components were combined to reflect, very simply and elegantly, the number of taxonomic statements that could be made about each terminal taxon represented in a cladogram (or hierarchical classification).

Keywords:   Chris Humphries, cladistics, biodiversity, conservation, Natural History Museum, coevolution, critical faunas analysis, terms, components, hierarchical classification

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