Steelhead are Now Classified as Salmon?- Why?

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by pilchuck steelie, Mar 18, 2008.

  1. Linnaeus started it, not Darwin.

    A classification that included species that died after spawning could include smelt, eels, lamprey, Pacific Salmon, squid, and octopi. The classification that includes species that spawn multiple times could include steelhead, walleye, shad, carp, bass, and hopefully humans.

    What a nightmare to have WDFW manage my spawning!
  2. Linnaeus didn't have any understanding of evolution, thus his classification did not try to be 'genealogical.' Darwin was the first person to recognize that all living things are related through common ancestry and, thus, argued that classifications should not be artificial systems based on some arbitrary characteristics (as Linnaeus' classification was), but rather should be based on recency of common ancestry.

    As for the start of classification in western thought, most trace its roots to Aristotle, but humans had been classifying living things in folk taxonomies much earlier than that. Linnaeus developed a 'system' and adopted some conventions in nomenclature that have survived to the present, thus the credit he gets for starting our modern taxonomic system. But, beware making too strong an argument for Linnaeus if there are any fish taxonomists present, as there may well be on this board, because his contemporary, Artedi, who died young and left his writings on fish taxonomy to Linnaeus, may really have developed some of the ideas Linnaeus takes credit for).

    Dick, the taxonomy professor
  3. Thanks for clarifying this, Prof. Olmstead.

    I recently married into a Swedish family. When visiting the old country, I found that the Swedes treated Linnaeus as a national hero. Didn't hear much about Artedi, even at the Gothenburg Aquarium, although he is another deserving Swede.

    Artedi drowned in Amsterdam while working on a the collections of Albertus Seba, which lead George Shaw to place this poem on his grave:

    In humulum Artedi:

    Here lies poor Artedi, in foreign land pyx'd
    Not a man nor a fish, but something betwixt,
    Not a man, for his life among fishes he past,
    Not a fish, for he perished by water at last.
  4. Fun poem, Paul. Thanks.

    Artedi was Linnaeus' classmate as an undergrad at the University of Uppsala. Artedi was 2 years Linnaeus' superior and encouraged Linnaeus to think about classification. They became close friends and shared a lot of ideas. They agreed to a pact that if either of them came to an untimely death, the other would publish their findings posthumously.

    Artedi found a benefactor in Amsterdam to work for, as was the practice of the day for natural historians. Linnaeus followed him to Amsterdam after finishing his schooling in Sweden. When Artedi died (drowned in a canal, as you say, and as was quite common in the day in Amsterdam), he had finished his magnus opus on fish classification, but had not been able to afford to publish it. At significant personal expense, Linnaeus paid off all of Artedi's debts to his landlord in order to obtain his manuscript on fishes to publish it as he had promised his friend.

    At this point, Linnaeus had yet to publish anything. Linnaeus did publish Artedi's work, but only several years later, after publishing a series of his own works that were not yet written at the time of Artedi's death and in which Linnaeus lays out much of his 'system' for classification (not including the binomial nomenclature, for which he is most well known today, which came somewhat later). Scholars have pointed out since then that most of Linnaeus's 'system' for which he gained so much fame in his own day and since, follow Artedi's 'system' for classifying fishes. Of course, many of those 'scholars' happen to be Ichthyologists! If true, and I have every reason to believe it is true, then Artedi deserves to share at least part of the renown that Linnaeus accepted for himself. Most stop short of suggesting Linnaeus had anything to do with Artedi's death, although ...

    By no means do I want to take away from Linnaeus's tremendous contributions, which in large part consisted of promoting a system of classification to the rest of the scientific world into which people could insert their own findings, thus making the science of taxonomy a global endeavor.

    Now, where did this thread start?


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