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Re: SICB Report

In a message dated 1/18/99 10:39:26 AM EST, cbrochu@fmppr.fmnh.org writes:

<< Not correct.  Different evolutonary conditions will most definitely
 impact the degree to which a strict parsimony analysis recovers the
 correct tree, or parts of it.  This is something that we've seen in our
 simulations, and that Huelsenbeck and Hillis' work showed. >>

I was talking about overall performance, not specific cases. There are many
instances when one cladistic method or another does in fact recover a correct
tree. The problem is that you don't know when you have entered this wonderful
state. (Something like the stopped clock, which is right twice a day.
Well--maybe a bit better than that...:-)

The real test would be to give non-cladist taxonomists artificial fossil
records generated from control phylogenies unknown to them and see whether
their non-cladistic methods return correct trees as often as cladistic methods
of taxonomists armed with computers. Part of the test would be to find
putative characters and to construct character matrices, just like in real
life. Limit the trees to four or five taxa for expediency (but perhaps a truer
test might involve a dozen taxa or more).