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clades and jvp

There's been talk around here that papers must have cladograms to get into
JVP.  From my experience, it will depend very heavily on who the reviewers
are - and some subpopulations among paleontologists (e.g., dinosaur people,
croc people) are more cladocentric than others.  As such, papers submitted
on dinosaurs and crocs are likelier to be required to include a cladogram,
as they're likelier to hit a reviewer with branching diagrams on his or her

As such a person myself, I would defend that position from the standpoint
that a cladogram is the simplest (and only) way to graphically summarize
the phylogenetic relationships of the new fossil.  I agree that the
morphological description MUST come first, and MUST be of high quality, and
would also agree that phylogeny is not the only thing people do out there.
But when I review a paper, I would like to see at least some discussion of
how the new fossil relates to others.  This doesn't mean it should include
an all-new phylogenetic analysis, but at a minimum should include a clear
statement of where it goes, the characters used to make that conclusion,
and how it was done (e.g., by eye, with PAUP, ouidja board, etc.).

Also - Paul Willis and I are grumbling about the Markwick papers not only
because they were performed without a phylogenetic framework, but because
of some basic errors.  My favorite - in both the Paleo3 and Paleobiology
papers, he states that there are no gharials in Africa during the Tertiary.
Except for the Eocene-Oligocene gharials from Egypt we've known about since
1905 (and with major reviews in 1927, 1965, 1972, and 1982), he'd be right.
And that's not the only one.


Christopher Brochu
Department of Geology
Field Museum of Natural History
Roosevelt Road at Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605

312-922-9410 x469