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RE: Unified Cladistics

Betty Cunningham <bettyc@flyinggoat.com> posted to the DINOSAUR list:

>> Know what?  Someday everybody will agree on some unifying cladistic
>>methodology, and then you can have a databank of these animals and run
>>cladistic tests whenever you damn well feel like, AND get the same results
>>no matter who does the stupid tree

"Thomas R. Holtz, Jr." <tholtz@geol.umd.edu> wrote:

>In the first test mentioned, ... the characters used to describe it will
>cover the anatomy in relatively general terms.
>In the second test, the study would ignore all those ... features: 

Yes, understood. I understood Betty Cunningham's post to be a comment that
our current cladistic procedures don't seem to produce generally agreed
upon "objective" ( <= big scare quotes)  cladograms. 
Therefore "something is wrong with our current procedures", or something is
wrong with our expectations.

>The differences are in the particulars, not the methold: which particular
>characters to use, how to code them, etc.

I understand these particulars to be the topic under discussion -- and the
item about which general agreement seems very unlikely.

>Remember that a cladogram does *NOT* describe an organism; it describes an
>hypothesis of the phylogenetic position of the organism. 

"Hypotheses" which many seem to take very seriously indeed.

-- Jeffrey Willson <jwillson@harper.cc.il.us>