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Re: Genetics and Morphology Collide

Here's another recent collision.  It's not about dinosaurs, but perhaps 
is another harbinger of the coming new era in systematics.

Romano, S.L., and S.R. Palumbi, Evolution of Scleractinian Corals 
Inferred from Molecular Systematics:  Science, v. 271, 2 February, 1996, 
p. 640-642.

The phylogram was consructed using the mitochondrial 16S ribosomal gene 
region.  Of seven traditional orders of scleractinians, four clustered 
together well in the molecular phylogram, confirming morphological 
systematics.  Three morphological suborders were split up, two diverging 
from the traditional morphological scheme as far as possible in the 
molecular phylogram (it's about like finding that rabbits are very close 
relatives of primates).

This sort of thing will only work for dinosaurs in the movies, but we 
need to appreciate its implications for the relaibility of 
morphology-based systematics of dinosaurs, cladistic or otherwise.

Norman R. King                                       tel:  (812) 464-1794
Department of Geosciences                            fax:  (812) 464-1960
University of Southern Indiana
8600 University Blvd.
Evansville, IN 47712                      e-mail:  nking.ucs@smtp.usi.edu