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Re: Genetics and Morphology Collide



In a message dated 96-02-09 17:04:48 EST, nking.ucs@smtp.usi.edu (King, Norm)
writes:

>Of course, there is always the danger that synapomorphies used in 
>constructing cladograms actually do not have phylogenetic significance. 

This sentence contains a common but interesting misusage of the term
"synapomorphy." Synapomorphies _cannot_ lack phylogenetic significance; only
apomorphies can. Synapomorphies are not used _to construct_ cladograms; only
apomorphies are. The synapomorphies emerge from among the apomorphies in the
analysis _after_ the cladogram is constructed: they are precisely the
apomorphies _with_ phylogenetic significance!

Another lesson in cladistic terminological nit-picking by your humble
servant,

George Olshevsky

Holder of the title of Most Messages Posted to the Dinosaur List (and the
only poster to attain a four-digit total!).

Hey--Nick Pharris and I and a few others keep this list sizzling!