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new branch in tree of life
May 13, 2011 3:57 AM   Subscribe

Holy mama, a new clade. (via)
posted by Meatbomb (22 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
From the Ars link: "The finding could drastically change the current view of the fungal tree of life, especially as the new clade has a biodiversity that might rival what is currently known of the entire fungus kingdom."

This news only got one snarky comment? I'll favorite this post just out of sympathy. We still have a lot to learn about fungi.
posted by Termite at 5:04 AM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I for one, etc. etc.
posted by tommasz at 5:08 AM on May 13, 2011


If only MiHail were here to see this glorious day...
posted by Gator at 5:09 AM on May 13, 2011 [7 favorites]


There fun guys we haven't ever met!
posted by From Bklyn at 5:14 AM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sadly, the education of the youth of amerika is declining in more than one way. The other day I was at the grocery store and the checker was unable to identify a cryptomycota clade.
posted by steef at 5:32 AM on May 13, 2011 [11 favorites]


This is pretty interesting, thanks!

However, I am disappointed in the people who named this group. "cryptomycota?" How is a branch of the tree of life going to develop any self respect when they are only referred to as "secretly (not) fungi?" What's next? "The Fungal Branch That Dare Not Speak Its Name?" The Not-Fungus Formerly Known as Fungus?" Sheesh.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:03 AM on May 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


If only MiHail were here to see this glorious day...

Finally the cashiers shall know the Portobellos from the cryptomycotas? Was she all along making a veiled argument that we are all ignorant about the true nature of 'shrooms? Finally vindication!
posted by Catfry at 6:14 AM on May 13, 2011


GenjiandProust: "How is a branch of the tree of life going to develop any self respect when they are only referred to as "secretly (not) fungi?""

Well, the defining feature of prokaryotes is that they aren't eukaryotes. So there's a precedent here. I feel like bacteria and archaea have decent self-respect. Well, the ones in MY gut are confident anyway. How are yours?
posted by caution live frogs at 6:45 AM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


I wasn't sure how 'Clade' fits into the the whole taxonomic Kingdom/Phylum/Order ..... Genus/Species thing. Wikipedia says a Clade is "a group consisting of an organism and all its descendants." So I guess taxonomy lets you just look at the living things at a given moment in history, but cladistics lets you/forces you to include who gave birth to who. Or should it be "what spawned what"?

Complementary methods, with different emphases? Or is taxonomics old-school and outdated, while cladistics is the sexy new thing? Biologists?
posted by benito.strauss at 7:04 AM on May 13, 2011


But they are still tasty, right?
posted by oddman at 7:17 AM on May 13, 2011


Or is taxonomics old-school and outdated, while cladistics is the sexy new thing?

I am not a biologist, but I'd wager that looking at the relatedness of organisms in terms of a general tree is both

1) conceptually simpler than some hierarchy with a fixed number of levels
2) better capable of capturing the relationships between things.
posted by Jpfed at 7:37 AM on May 13, 2011


A new clade? I've discovered entire universes in fungi.
posted by empath at 7:41 AM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, well, well. Looks like God snuck one in on us. Sneaky bastard!
posted by holdkris99 at 7:42 AM on May 13, 2011


GenjiandProust: my feeling is this. If life presents you with an opportunity to give something a name with crypto- in it, you don't pass that opportunity up.
posted by aparrish at 7:50 AM on May 13, 2011


If life presents you with an opportunity to give something a name with crypto- in it, you don't pass that opportunity up.

... and yet... your username... *sigh*
posted by hippybear at 8:06 AM on May 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


The MiHail/portabello references are pleasing to me. I often think of her when I see the portabellos in the supermarket. They are clearly labeled.
posted by asok at 8:12 AM on May 13, 2011


A new clade? I've discovered entire universes in fungi.

Aaaah, turn blue, wilya?! That's a lotta cowflop.
posted by Herodios at 8:29 AM on May 13, 2011


"Wikipedia says a Clade is "a group consisting of an organism and all its descendants." "

That's not meta- enough.
posted by sneebler at 8:35 AM on May 13, 2011


Well, I've seen the word 'clade' too many times now, and it's become unmoored from its actual meaning. I now imagine that "Clade" is an up-and-coming Country-Celtic fusion group, just starting to get a buzz in the Raleigh-Durham college market.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:56 AM on May 13, 2011


This is exciting! To nerds like me at least.
It's cool when the wikipedia articles haven't yet been updated to reflect the changes (the fungus article lists the new group but hasn't changed the cladogram yet).
posted by rmless at 10:37 AM on May 13, 2011


Or is taxonomics old-school and outdated, while cladistics is the sexy new thing?

There was a shift, in the 80s or 90s or so I think, from viewing the taxonomic tree as primarily an organizational tool to viewing it as something that should reflect the cladistic tree. Lots of branches got reshuffled as molecular techniques revealed that some distinguishing feature arose multiple times independently and so it doesn't make for a good classification. (My non-biologist's understanding.)

I'd guess the use of the word "clade" here is just so they don't have to make an assertion about where their discovery fits— new phylum, subphylum, kingdom, whatever, it's a new thing.
posted by hattifattener at 12:00 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think i listen to way too many podcasts.
The May 12th Radio 4 Material World podcast has an interview with the Prinicpal scientist who further describes and possibly answers some of the above questions.
posted by stuartmm at 2:36 PM on May 13, 2011


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