Talk:Family (biology)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Biology (Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon Family (biology) is part of the WikiProject Biology, an effort to build a comprehensive and detailed guide to biology on Wikipedia.
Leave messages on the WikiProject talk page.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Tree of Life (Rated Start-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Tree of Life, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of taxonomy and the phylogenetic tree of life on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.

I just restored this entry and also Class (biology) and Order (biology) to make them seperate pages instead of redirects to Scientific classification.

There are high in sugur i think but u find it out for ur self=)zens, probably some hundreds of articles scattered around the place that link to them, and almost every link is obviously intended to go to the exact destination, rather than to a general-purpose scientific classification page. A great many pages have something more-or-less like this:

  • The Greater Soandso (Imaginus examplei) is one of several creatures belonging to the family XYZ and, together with the Spotted and Striped Thingamejigs, making up the order ABC.

(OK, it's a silly example, but you can see non-silly examples everywhere in the biology pages.) Tannin 00:40 Apr 20, 2003 (UTC)

The problem is that these pages have no content, really. They're all essentially duplications of part of the scientific classification article, and of each other. Moreover, they're almost certainly going to stay that way, since there is not much to say about orders except that they lie below classes and above families.

In short, when someone links to both family (biology) and order (biology), they are inevitably linking the same content twice. I don't believe people genuinely intended to point to separate articles, but were just wikiing and disambiguating technical terms. In any case, if they have to point to the same thing, they may as well both point to scientific classification. Here I think the linking articles are the problem, and we shouldn't come up with a cheap solution just because there are a lot of them. Redirects were designed for exactly this, to allow links to point to the correct place before they can all be corrected.


There is plenty of room to include some extra detail on each one, in particular a simple and direct definition of the term. These pages need to be as technically correct as we can make them, but they also need to be as accesible to the non-specialist as we can manage. Improving the "order" and "family" pages is on my "to-do" list. (But not tonight - it's way past my bedtime!) Tannin

Oh. I see. I guess this means I have to take time out from the other things I had planned and do it next up. Tannin

I don't think there's any hurry, unless you have an amazingly strong opinion on this, in which case I won't revert any changes you make, even if it's just to restore the old pages. I simply don't think any genuine content is possible, and whoever made the pages redirects originally seems to have agreed. Honestly, other than the dictionary definition of "rank in a scientific classification", what would you consider putting here?

Most important rank[edit]

"Next only to species and genus, the family is the most important rank in taxonomy." So it's the third most important? In what way? AndrewWTaylor 23:15, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

Seriously. Who says?
Sheep81 05:25, 27 May 2007 (UTC)
_ _ Isn't this obvious? Species is most important bcz w/o it you couldn't systematically describe the units whose splitting creates separate gene pools. Genus is second most, bcz it permits identifying the commonalities among distinguishable species. Family is third bcz its the next step in a process that should be obvious.
_ _ Of course, i'm using "obvious" in the sense that respects the obviousness of domain being the most important, bcz it begins the process of recognizing that some living things are fundamentally different from all others, and of Kingdom being 2nd, etc.
--Jerzyt 20:02, 21 September 2007 (UTC)

Graphic for tree[edit]


Darwin says there are no real ranks, strict continuity broken only by our classification and by the separation Natural Selection automatically creates. It follows from that, that no rank can be less or more important than another, except at the edges of this chain. Life is one such edge. The other is not species though.

It would be nice if for the purpose of clarity, it is well explained that the main drawing at the top right - describing the ranks of taxonomy - in fact represents a tree of the history of decent of life, and that if it were detailed this one extra level, it would have constituted a schematic of all individuals of all life on earth.

This tree is "missing" the leaves. In the picture they would have been represented as a top funnel titled: individual (of the particular species).

The individual is the physical foundation of this tree and the evolution-implied taxonomy.

It is the most important (and least understood) "rank", side by side only to to life itself, especially for never having been classified as a rank in taxonomy.
--Ohadaloni 00:09, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

_ _ First, it's much more important that the tree is upside down. Donald Knuth apologized in the 2nd edition of volume 1 for drawing the trees with their roots at the bottom. If he couldn't change the standard for tree graphics, no one else will be able to. "Hierarchy" means "how we rule the priests", and org charts are always drawn with the top dogs at the top, and lower-level folks below them; when a decision is above your pay-grade you kick the problem upstairs to those who have gotten beyond the glass ceiling; you argue for grassroots initiatives to counter the routine top-down decision making, and when you don't want to do a breadth-first search or tour, the alternative is a depth-first one. Redraw the damn diagram with the highest-order levels at the top (hanging firmly from the ceiling, not delicately balanced upside down on its head), and it will offer an occasion to deal with the preceding issue. (As follows:)
_ _ The problem re "individual" is not that complex, but more fundamental than suggested. Creating a stylish graphic inevitably gets you into such trouble, bcz the leaves and root of a tree structure are fundamentally different from all the other nodes, which all have the same kinds of relationships to their respective nearest neighbors. If you aren't going to explicitly and separably represent both nodes and edges, you have to choose between omitting the root and omitting the leaves.
_ _ IMO that dilemma is more interesting: in order to get something that fits, should we dump "life" (huh? this is a group?) or "individual" (or what i would replace that term with, "genotype", which is unlike "individual" is a group that could theoretically have multiple members, via twins or wild coincidence). Hmm, that could be the answer: Keep the graphic style that inherently puts a name on the parent and leaves it to the next level (in the direction of decreasing generality) to specify the name of the child level. Rename "Life" somehow, and add one additional, less general, level named "Genotype", which will justly be the one that has no dots inside it, since the multiplicity that the dots represent is mostly hypothetical.
--Jerzyt 20:02, 21 September 2007 (UTC)

multiple redirects dup content and references revisited[edit]

It is a natural and positive process, and I don't see why you are trying to combat it.

By having many copies of information interacting with each other with seemingly random links creating chaos, the wikipedia becomes an evolutionary ecosystem for its pages.

The URLs can be viewed as synapse-like connections that help readers associate the information.

It is good to have many such nearly empty pages or with dup content and/or references and redirect pages.

In this way, I, and most others, can get to the relevant information much quicker, mostly because our search begins with the snippets of our own knowledge, and we might just know the term for which there is a nearly empty page.

It is best never to remove a page for dup of content. Just make sure the content is truly an excat dup and replace with a redirect.

If it is not an exact dup, let the bee brain wikis like me continue to trash it.

If the intentions are on the non-vandal side, things will take care of themselves. It will take much more time, but the results will be much more accurate and knowledge will be saved rather than lost. Wikipedia does not need to be completed any time soon.

This happens to be a subject very dear to me and I can see the drop in my knowledge acquisition speed very clearly with your description of elimination of some of these pages. (not that it is significant or anything in this case, it just happens to be a example providing much clarity and accuracy of this estimate of mine).

I can deal with chaos much better if it is contained in the wikipedia, as compared with the chaos at google and the external links google provides that point outward from the google servers to much less reliable servers (that would be the rest of the internet - wikipedia excluded for the purpose of this discussion).

Almost quoting Darwin in this context:

The wikipedia only needs to be better than everyone else, no more!

--Ohadaloni 07:34, 30 June 2007 (UTC)

Subfamily (and for that matter, Superfamily)[edit]

Subfamily is a redirect to the accompanying article, but the term is not mentioned, in violation of WP policy on relationships between Rdrs and their targets. There should be a section on the Subfamily concept, or on both Subfamilies and Superfamilies. IMO it would in fact be valuable to have a list of lks to examples (whether articles or mentions of these two intermediate levels), which are bound to be of some value in getting a grip on what kinds of odd situation call for their use.
--Jerzyt 20:11, 21 September 2007 (UTC)

I have to agree. The subfamily is not listed on the graph of the different hierarchies. Since it is not mentioned in the article either, it it very confusing. I am confused. I got redirected here from a link on subfamily of cows. There is no info about subfamily in this article. I unfortunately do not have enough Life Science knowledge to expand the section...-- (talk) 06:58, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

test this.too Lss dhruvil (talk) 07:28, 14 August 2015 (UTC)

Is the distinction between "taxonomic rank" and "taxon" necessary and desirable?[edit]

The article states that "family" has two distinct meanings: (1) a taxonomic rank; (2) a taxonomic unit, a taxon, in that rank. The articles Class and Order do likewise. I'm afraid the intended distinction will be lost on most readers, causing more confusion than enlightenment. Compare the Genus article, which simply states: "a genus (plural: genera) is a low-level taxonomic rank (a taxon)". We also do not write: "In corporate governance, CEO is: (1) the highest rank within an organization; (2) a corporate officer holding that rank." Making this type-token distinction explicitly is not helpful.

What about this:

In biological classification, a family (Latin: familia, plural familiae) is a taxon (taxonomic group of organisms) with a taxonomic rank in the taxonomic hierarchy below order and above genus. Examples are Fabaceae (the legume family) and Canidae (the family that includes, among others, the wolves, foxes, and the domestic dog).

 --Lambiam 09:16, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

Subfamily (biology) no longer links here, nor should it.[edit]

I've redirected Subfamily (biology) to Subfamily, as all the incoming links are apparently referring to a subfamily, not a family, and there are informative nomenclatural distinctions between the two ranks. A disambiguation page is probably not necessary at this time, as a simple hatnote to Protein subfamily is sufficient. --Animalparty-- (talk) 20:12, 16 March 2014 (UTC)