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macrotaxonomyMakrotaxonomie (ger.)

  • The science of formally defining and naming supraspecific taxa, and of assigning entities to these taxa.
    taxonomy microtaxonomy

    the taxonomist [...] used to derive his opinions upon species formation from studies of closely related species. Nowadays he adds to this the study of the subspecies found in nature and their geographic relations. We might call this microtaxonomy. Conclusions derived from microtaxonomical studies upon the methods of evolution are valuable as generalizations only if they can explain also the facts of macrotaxonomy.

    Goldschmidt, R. (1940). The Material Basis of Evolution: 5.


    If macroevolution is regarded as simply the accumulation of enough microevolution (as experimentally observed) to serve as a basis for large categorical distinctions (macrotaxonomy), the word indicates quite a different phenomenon from Goldschmidt’s theoretical macroevolution

    Jepsen, G.L. (1946). [Rev. Simpson, G.G. (1944). Tempo and Mode in Evolution]. Amer. Midl. Nat. 35, 538-541: 539.


    Population taxonomy has been supplemented by what one might call macrotaxonomy, a taxonomy that is chiefly concerned with the theory and practice of classifying higher taxa.

    Mayr, E. (1968). Theory of biological classification. Nature 220, 545-548: 548.


    The history of the field is best understood, if two subfields of taxonomy are recognized: (1) microtaxonomy, which deals with the methods and principles by which kinds (“species”) of organisms are recognized and delimited, and (2) macrotaxonomy, which deals with the methods and principles by which kinds of organisms are classified, that is, arranged in the form of classifications.

    Mayr, E. (1982). The Growth of Biological Thought: 145-6.