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Morphometrics and Phylogenetic Analysis



Ralph Chapman wrote:
> 
> First, and this is an area I have been arguing for for more than 15
> years now, is the use of morphometrics for the better definition of
> characters as used classically in phylogenetic analyses. This should
> be a no brainer - actually having evidence for separating the
> character states used in an analysis rather than just eyeballing it
> and saying this character is subovate and this other one is ovate,
> etc. For an approach such as cladistics which claims to be very
> quantitative and not subjective, this should have been the first thing
> done, frankly, providing quantitative means for defending
> characters.Otherwise, we are stuck with just meristic characters (e.g.
> humber of belly bristles). However, and amazingly, lots of cladists
> will absolutely bristle at doing this - like you just threw cold water
> on them and ruined the game they are playing. Consequently, many
> cladistic analyses are really totally inadequate and, at times, pretty
> embarrassing that they go to so much trouble to analyse characters
> that are so wanting in support. I think we are making progress with
> many others, such as Tom, and the results will be far superior as a
> result. 

        Preach on, brother Chapman!

        Actually, I was involved in a discussion/debate with a colleague 
at the Ostrom talks who told me flat out that all of this morphometrics 
stuff wasn't going to get systematics anywhere.  Interesting that he had 
no alternative plan, though...



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