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[Now this is what I was expecting to see... -- MR ]
From: Jeff Poling <email@example.com>
> What's a good definition of the principle of parsimony, and how
> does it work?
The parsimony principle states that a phylogenetic reconstruction
that requires fewer changes (evolutionary steps) is better than
one which require more steps.
The way it is used in cladistics is that one constructs a cladogram
an then counts the number of state changes along the branches. The
cladogram with the lowest count is the most parsimonious.
The peace of God be with you.