Welcome to the Paraphylome


I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a thousand times: humans are apes; apes, old world monkeys, and new world monkey are primates; and humans are primates. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.

So you can guess how I reacted when I saw this advertisement as I was perusing the latest issue of Nature. Here is what they’re pimping, an “Omics Gateway”. You know how much I love -omics. Nature Publishing Group (NPG) tells us, “The Omics Gateway provides life scientists a convenient portal into publications relevant to large-scale biology from journals throughout NPG.” It’s a veritable omeome.

But they can’t get their monophyletic taxa correct. “From primates and humans” makes as much sense as “to Drosophila and arthropods.” In fact, that’s what they should have done, just to show how foolish they sound. I like you Nature Publishing group. You’ve got blogs. You’ve got great specialty journals. Don’t make me go find reasons to hate on you.


  1. #1 Sandra Porter
    October 3, 2006

    You’re looking at a marketing document. It is unfortunate but there is vast difference in believability between marketing documents and trade publications.

    I would expect more of ABI since they’re a gigantic company, but it has been my experience that marketing people rarely ask scientists about the correct usage of a word. I wish it were otherwise but the marketing people (that I know) usually just find words that look correct and plug them in. I try not to cringe too much.

  2. #2 razib
    October 3, 2006

    wow. that is dumb, dumb, dumb. you don’t have to cladistically self-aware to do that, that’s as stupid as from felines to cats, from whales to dolphins, etc. etc. we’re talkin’ pre-linneus!

  3. #3 Amit
    October 4, 2006

    Yeah, that is pretty silly. Don’t they have biologists in their marketing dept?

    Speaking of their blogs, their Nature Genetics blog has been disappointing. All they have are links to papers and not much else.

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