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HomeOccasional Paper 16

A Quick Method for Developing a Cognitum System Exemplifed Using Flowering Plants

Roger W. Sanders
Occas. Papers of the BSG No. 16, pp. 1-63
©2010 BSG.


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The cognitum, a gestalt-level taxon recognized through human cognitive powers, is a recently introduced taxonomic concept. To apply this concept, a cognitum system of flowering plants is proposed. Human cognitive data were obtained by compiling and comparing the intuitive classifications by five prominent modern but pre-cladistic, pre-molecular authorities. Core group taxa of a cognitum were taken as those in the intersection of the five classifications for that traditional taxonomic group. Those taxa outside the intersection but in the union were assigned to a cognitum’s fuzzy boundary, often linking it reticulately to one or more other cognita. More inclusive secondary cognita were formed by majority rule into a partial hierarchy. At the class level, two cognita (monocots and dicots, respectively) were recognized. At the family/order level, 63 cognita were recognized, and at the subfamily/family level, 72 cognita were recognized. The family/order level cognita grouped into 16 secondary cognita, two of which were at the subclass/class level. The family/order level cognita are linked by 264 boundary groups (plus three boundary groups between monocots and dicots). The cognita, while reflecting traditional taxonomic groups, are not equivalent to them or to baramins but rather highlight the mosaic nature of those groups.