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Re: tooth counts in systematics

Joshua Smith wrote:

>         I don't think polymorphic traits need to be thrown out--the
> impetus behind this work was to begin accounting for variation in
> characters, not to just look for characters can be simply coded as
> bionomial states.  But as I work with teeth, I started here, and began
> with the stuff that was unambiguous and easy to code first.  A lack of
> rigorous testing of the characters before the analyses are run is the
> whole point as far as I am concerned.

What kind of "testing" are you advocating?  I think every serious
systematist "tests" his or her characters, insofar as they look at every
available specimen for each ingroup taxon.  (Yes, I know - not EVERYONE
does.  Not all drivers wear seat belts, either.)


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

voice:  312-922-9410 x469
fax:  312-922-9566
electronic:  cbrochu@fmppr.fmnh.org