• Classification;
  • Phylogency;
  • Trees


The styles of continuing intellectual traditions can have a major effect on the way in which scientific findings are expressed. Darwin and Huxley, for all their intellectual daring followed the skeptical tactics of the Scottish Enlightenment and avoided the construction of human phylogenetic trees, even though they were aware of the evidence on which such could have been constructed. The romantic evolutionism of Haeckel, Keith, and many subsequent writers in English produced suggested phylogenies on the basis of largely hypothetical forms including Homo “alalus,” “stupidus,” and “Eoanthropus.” The structural aspects of phylogenetic schemes that derive from the French intellectual ethos, from catastrophism to cladistics and punctuated equilibria, have stressed discrete categorical entities in the tradition of Platonic essentialism and have tended to avoid a consideration of evolutionary dynamics.