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Re: Life Beyond the Cladogram



Wow.  I don't even know where to start with Tony's post.  I am overcome 
with emotion at actually seeing so many words like "hypothesis," 
"testing," and "approaches" in a single post on this list.  Having seen 
similar comments to the ones he described from reviewers, I have to 
pretty much agree with everything he said.  I have often wondered why 
systematics has become the single-minded pursuit of so many of us, when 
there are so many additional, equally or more interesting and perhaps 
important questions out there.  Taking nothing from Paul's work (I think 
his P3 paper published earlier this year is an absolutely marvelous work, 
the scope of which made we want to go lie down for a while when I first 
saw it), I also raised an eyebrow at the quoted statement in the 
_Paleobiology_ paper.

This systematic classification system is something that WE came up with 
in order to try and make some sense out of the variation we see in taxa.  
The animals were STILL there, doing their things, regardless of whether or 
not we ever manage to correlate our system of classification with reality.



-- 
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Josh Smith
University of Pennsylvania
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