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Re: Transitional Fossils

Dinogeorge wrote:

>In a message dated 95-10-03 14:20:41 EDT, Thomas_R_HOLTZ@umail.umd.edu (th81)
>>So, stratigraphy and biogeography are not used in the cladistic analysis per
>>se, but in the transformation of the resultant cladogram into a proposed
>And what happens to the phylogeny if the stratigraphic and biogeographic
>evidence are at variance with the cladogram?

In that case, the more astute cladist (obviously not a transform cladist)
will have little red lights flashing in front of his or her eyes and the
robot in the corner starts thrashing its arms around and shouting "Warning,

Something is wrong. It may be with the stratigraphy, the biogeography *or*
[gasp] the cladistics. None are infalible, not even cladistics.

Cladistics is a tool, nothing more nothing less. It is a very powerful
tool, but is is only a tool. It is not a mirror, reflecting reality.
Indeed, its sole aim is to reduce reality to (hopefully) meaningfully
comparitive units.

I had thought that the Pattersonesque view that the only three things
needed to produce an accurate phylogeny were, cladistics, cladistics and
cladistics, was past. Perhaps not.

Transform cladists need to get out more.

Transform cladistical definition of a palaeontologist:

"An irritating person, constantly finding new specimens necessitating the
re-evaluation of cladistically manufactured phylogenies."


cnedin@geology.adelaide.edu.au                  nedin@ediacara.org
Many say it was a mistake to come down from the trees, some say
the move out of the oceans was a bad idea. Me, I say the stiffening
of the notochord in the Cambrian was where it all went wrong,
it was all downhill from there.