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Morphometrics and Cladistics

Jerry D. Harris wrote:
>  Lastly, given the amount of detail in many of your (Ralph's) papers, I
> would suspect it takes a fair amount of time to perform such an
> analysis...and in today's world of battling cladograms, the need to speed
> to publish before others do is probably another factor in the lack of hard
> morphometrics in many analyses.
        This is the single worst thing about theropod systematics in 
particular.  What good is it to continually publish analyses that just 
get ripped up three months later by yourself or someone else?  This is 
NOT directed at you in particular, Jerry.  If someone were to sit down 
and spend the time it would take to do the background work on variation
and then run a detailed analysis and found someplace to put it that wasn't 
stupid about space restrictions and could thus give the matrix the 
attention it needed IN THE PAPER, then it wouldn't matter how many analyses
had been put out while that one was in prep.  It would still have the 
effect of dropping a fairly large bomb on things.  Tom's new (in press) 
analysis has taken one hell of along time and a pile of work, but (and
I am sure he would disagree with this...) the wait hasn't changed the
world much--his data will still be taken into consideration as fully as
they would have been if he had gotten it out, say, last year.

I have to agree with Ralph on this that yes, time and space is a bitch 
(as are those nasty page charges...), but one good analysis would still
be worth more to the community and would better immortalize the author
(I know a lot of people for which that is VERY important) than simply
being another soldier in the constant war of cladograms.

Josh Smith
University of Pennsylvania
Department of Earth and Environmental Science
471 Hayden Hall
240 South 33rd Street
Philadelphia, PA  19104-6316
(215) 898-5630 (Office)
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