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Re: The actual running Archie paper...(this is very long!)

In a message dated 5/7/99 11:31:38 PM EST, Z966341@wpo.cso.niu.edu writes:

<< I do not
 wish to debate with you point by point your argument against the
 ground-up hypothesis on bird origins, but I am curious as to why you
 suggest we "disbelieve" cladistics.  While some cladistical studies no
 doubt abuse the power of the hypothesis generator, surely you don't
 suggest we toss out cladistics entirely?  Many folks I know spend so
 much time and energy to make sure their characters are meaningful,
 non-repetitive, and testable that it is hardly the
 dump-everything-in-and-see-what-we-get approach you seem to think it
 is. >>

Cladistics so far is neutral with respect to either the ground-up or 
trees-down hypothesis; both hypotheses fit existing cladograms. But since we 
have no fossils of pre-Archaeopteryx birds, some have chosen to assume that 
the pre-Archaeopteryx theropods that we do have as fossils are behaviorally 
and structurally similar to ancestral birds. It is this assumption that is 
contradicted--by simple physics, not by cladistics. Cladistics is fine as far 
as it goes.