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Cladistics (was Sci. Am. - present)



However the chips fall, it is clear that while cladistics is useful, it is not magic - in particular we have no reason to expect 100% perfection.  Call them minor blips or whatever, when you've got one slap in the middle of your philogeny, it's pretty major!
 
It is a pity we cannot have DNA details of dinosaurs since I do not believe there was such a sudden burst of DNA changes on loss of flight, as there was of morphological changes.  I would place much greater faith in a DNA cladogram for birds and related dinos.
 
Incidentally there is absolutely no reason why we cannot use a bit of brainpower to improve the performance of cladistics.  When I said "blind" cladistics, I did NOT mean all cladistics is blind.  The truest comment we've had on this subject so far is that GIGO applies.
 
Thank you for your patronising reply, Thomas R Holtz jr.  I binned both copies, sonny.
 
On the subject of democracy in science - no equivocation - forget it completely.  There are endless illustrative examples, including a good few in palaeo.
 
We have had a rather sparse response to my request for known mesozoic uncinants - there can't be many - and of course any birds or bird-like dinos that don't have them.  I'm sure many apart from myself would be interested in our most up-to-date assessment.
 
John V Jackson    jjackson@interalpha.co.uk
 
(Wannabeasaurus   beecee-effia - & proud of it!)