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Re: clarification of cladistic terminology



In a message dated 96-02-13 12:52:31 EST, rowe@lepomis.psych.upenn.edu
(Mickey Rowe) writes:

>> First, before the cladogram or any analysis, comes the observation
>> of a character or character state. At this point, all we have are
>> apomorphies.
>
>The latter statement is at best confusing.  If you don't believe me,
>stick in the term "plesiomorphy", "symplesiomorphy", or even
>"synapomorphy" in place of "apomorphy".  They all make the same amount
>of sense.  A character state is only an apomorphy (i.e. a derived
>condition) with respect to other possible character states.  To say
>that "all we have are apomorphies" is like saying every object in the
>universe is at rest.  Relative to what?

Right. At this point we don't even have apomorphies, just characters and
character states.