Original paper

Problematic issues of cladistics 23: DARWIN'S concept of phylogenetic relationship

Reif, Wolf-Ernst


Darwin discovered that, in the light of the theory of descent with modification, the interrelationships of the taxonomic groups in the Natural System become understandable as real, phylogenetic relationships (PhR), and that all taxonomic groups and the hierarchical structure of the organic diversity are real, rather than arbitrary. To make the notion of PhR understandable, he postulated a very close relationship between PhR and blood relationship among persons. As he failed to discriminate sharply between general PhR, relative PhR and absolute PhR he did not realize that systematics works only with relative PhR and that his postulate that "classifications will eventually become genealogies" could, at least in the literal sense, never come true.