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Re: Cladistics

>Would someone please correct me if the golden mole had been considered a
>member of the elephant family all along?

I'm not sure.  But could you explain how we know the molecular data used to
draw that conclusion are correct, and any morphological data contradicting
it must be wrong?  The point I'm making is that, all too often, a new
molecular tree will be published, and anything earlier supported by
morphology is declared wrong.  Never mind that other *molecular* data sets
may disagree.  Never mind that the internal support stats in the molecular
tree are very low.  It's molecular, and so must be correct.

(To be honest, I'm not sure most of the smaller mammals turning up in
surprising places, esp. the elephant shrew, had actually been considered in
morphology-based cladistic analyses anyway, so there may not be any
disparity.  Moreover, IIRC, the molecular analyses were based on
mitochondrial sequences, which can be flaky when dealing with divergences
older than mid-Tertiary.)


Christopher Brochu

Postdoctoral Research Scientist
Department of Geology
Field Museum of Natural History
Lake Shore Drive at Roosevelt Road
Chicago, IL  60605  USA