Re: On the word "primitive"

John Cole. (jrc@TEI.UMASS.EDU)
Thu, 1 Aug 1996 15:55:33 -0400

FWIW, and in order to keep some system in mind, I'd note that in biology
"primitive" character states are simply the earlier sources of "derived"
character states. There is no hint of good/bad, better, less developed, or
whatever--nor is there even any hint at how much time has elapsed--ie, one
does not mean ancient vs. modern. It simply describes a cladistic or phyletic
relationship. UNLIKE the commonly negative connotation of "primitive" in older
anthro jargon.

--John R. Cole