Saturday, January 21, 2012

Aye Aye... That's Potentilla arrrrrggguta, Matey!

Potentilla arguta
... at least that's how I picture the conversation between William Dampier and a field assistant upon seeing the species above.  What the heck am I talking about?  You've got to take a look at this blog post on the NPR webpage...

CLICK HERE!

4 comments:

Rufino Osorio said...

Alas, molecular genetic analysis indicates that Potentilla arguta is more closely related to strawberries than to cinquefoils (Potentilla). Thus, it is not unusual to now see it referred to as Drymocallis arguta. (Eriksson et al. 2003. The phylogeny of Rosoideae (Rosaceae) based on sequences of the internal transcribed spacers (ITS) of nuclear ribosomal DNA and the trnl/f region of chloroplast DNA. International Journal of Plant Sciences 164(2): 197–211.)

Scott Namestnik said...

Thanks for the information, Rufino. Back to the old name!

Keith said...

Imagine the absurdity of using common names to communicate effectively - I've already seen it happen. At any rate, 3 out of 4 voices in my head say it's Potentilla arguta, so I'll go with that.

Justin Thomas said...

Given that the genus Drymocallis was instituted by Rydberg in 1898, the idea that D. argutus differs from Potentilla is far from a new one.

And given that speciation is repeatably demonstrated to be a largely paraphyletic process, the molecular data is not particularly relevant or informative; not to mention the constantly ignored scientific uncertainty of extrapolated probabilities that form the foundation of molecular systematics.

That being said, I prefer the binomial Drymocallis argutus because it has a morphology that is quite different from that of Potentilla in the strict sense. Conclusions drawn from best-guess computer models attempting to reveal the evolutionary relationship of a group from a mere handful of the few extant members is too faith-based for me.