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Re: Cladistics (was Sci. Am. - present)

>At present, MLE's are only available for genetic phylogenies.  However, a
>recent article in _Systematic Biology_ on the subject has increased my hope
>that an MLE approach may be soon available for character data.

Not entirely.  Huelsenbeck and some of his coauthors have devised
likelihood methods based on stratigraphic data, and ML has been used for
morphology before.

>Even better: a significance test for relative strength of cladograms.

Those already exist, in large number.  Have a look at the Templeton test,
or the compare-2 test, or the PTP test, or the T-PTP test, or.........

(These last two are actually tests of nodes rather than trees, and the
first is more a test of character distributional difference, but they do
address your point.)


Christopher Brochu

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