In today’s increasingly digitized, data-driven world, the “old ways” of doing things, especially science, are quickly abandoned in favor of newer, ostensibly better methods. One such discipline is the ancient study of taxonomy, the discovery and organization of life on Earth. New techniques like DNA sequencing are allowing taxonomists to gain insight into the tangled web of relationships between species (among the Acanthomorph fish, for example). But is the newest, shiniest toy always the best? Are we in danger of losing vital information about the world if we abandon the thousands of years of cumulative human knowledge to gather dust in basements? This thesis explores the current crossroads at which taxonomy finds itself, and offers a solution to preserve the past while diving headlong into the future.
One Fish, Two Fish, Lungfish, Youfish: Embracing Traditional Taxonomy in a Molecular World
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