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Re: Life Beyond the Cladogram

While I agree that some people seem rather obsessive about cladograms, as a
reporter I find them useful in assessing relationships that put the fossil
in the proper context of related animals. Often I find that journals have a
perverse tendency to weed out information that helps put new discoveries in
context, but in asking for cladograms they do the opposite -- help point
out potentially important relationships. For example, if the Science paper
on the Arctic champsosaurs had included a cladogram showing the critter's
placement, the NY Times would have had even less excuse for screwing up and
calling it a dinosaur. Indeed, I would say in that case a small cladogram
should have been included to show the evidence that champsosaurs were
cold-blooded, because that evidence is key to the whole argument. -- Jeff