Other Question #3721

Melody, a 15 year old female from Maronville asks on November 28, 2006,

Is taxonomy a rigorous, objective science?

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The answer

David Carmean answered on December 11, 2006

[Editor: Barry Shell contributed to this answer.] It depends. Modern taxonomists can set up a hypothesis about relationships and then test the hypothesis. Taxonomists started calling themselves systematists to avoid the taint of alpha-taxonomy. There are mathematical taxonomies that are rigorously precise. There is a spectrum of types of taxonomy from simple loose naming of things all the way to mathematical containment hierarchies. A very good explanation of taxonomy can be found at Wikipedia.

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