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Re: Cladistics



> Actually, an easily accessible (for dinosaur fans) explanation on cladistics
> are chapters 3 and 4 in Fastovsky and Weishampel's Evolution and Extinction
> of Dinosaurs (1996, Cambridge).
      The chapter, and the book, explain the use of phylogenetic
analysis using synapomorphies well, and utilizes cladistic
taxonomy, but doesn't really explain well (to me) the philosophy
behind it.  It is decidedly nontechnical in regard to explaining taxonomy 
(I don't think the technical terms "apomorphy", "synapomorphy",
"plesiomorphy", "sympleisiomorphy", or even (?) "cladistics" are used
anywhere in the book). Nor does it compare and contrast with
other taxonomic systems to show the various advantages (and, God Forbid,
shortcomings) when compared with other taxonomies. I am not trying to
crack open the cladistics debate again, I am just saying that I don't
think "The Evolution and Extinction of Dinosaurs" is a good introductory
text for anyone trying to understand cladisitic taxonomy.  
     Unfortunatley, I don't have a better reference.  My Evolution
textbook has a nice chapter that gives decent explanations of phenetics,
cladistics, and evolutionary taxonomies, but I don't have the reference
handy.   

LN Jeff
O-