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Re: A comment on cladistic characters



In a message dated 96-11-03 14:08:47 EST, bcurtice@ic.sunysb.edu (Brian
Curtice) writes:

> I agree with Nick Longrich that quite often researchers today get
> caught up in the battle frenzy that a cladogram can generate, for
> here is a way to take data lifted right out of papers and pictures,
> make some decisions (hopefully wise and well thought out) and,
> wahla, a bona-fide scientific phylogeny fit for publication.  This
> is a seductive power.  Have a low CI?  Add more characters!

I've been screaming for years about this aspect of cladistics to a perfectly
deaf audience. Glad to see someone else has yaken up the cause. I call this
"synapomorphy wars" in _Mesozoic Meanderings_ #2.

I would dearly love to see character matrices for sauropods (and other dinos)
in which EACH VERTEBRA weighs in with its own suite of characters, as you
suggest in your posting. Wanna bet that'll change a few cladograms?