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Re: Re-evolving bones?

In a message dated 97-05-06 22:02:48 EDT, znc14@ttacs1.ttu.edu (Jonathan R.
Wagner) writes:

<< I really cannot, however, as a responsible soon-to-be scientist, accept
your personal judgement as evidence for an argument (especially without
knowledge of your credentials_. >>

I could make a marvelous counterargument here, invoking visions of an inbred
dinosaur paleontology, in which systematists, marching in lockstep, write
papers using one another's data bases and character matrices to produce
essentially the same cladogram over and over again and presenting it as
gospel truth, cutting down independent thinkers and others who question their
methodologies by casting _ad hominem_ aspersions on their credentials. But
there's no need to do this...

Tracy has looked at the actual bones of segnosaurs (which have, at various
times, toured the USA), photographed and measured them, and has come up with
a different set of conclusions from that being offered up by others. We have
discussed segnosaur relationships between ourselves, and we agree it is more
likely that they're not theropods than that they are. We find the arguments
of cladistics >in this case< to be unconvincing. That's the bottom line.

Here's an experiment I'd like to see done. In a cladistic analysis of, say,
therapsids, score _Eryops_ into the character matrix >as if it were a
therapsid< and see where it pops out on the therapsid family tree. Wanna bet
it won't necessarily appear as the outgroup to all the other taxa? Something
like this is what has happened with the segnosaurs as theropods.

Why won't anybody >put cladistics itself to the test<?