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Limits of cladistics?
Jaime A. Headden wrote on 03/27/2001:
> I would not stake my reputation on a cladistic analysis -
> ever; but not also on a simple morphological or molecular
> analysis, either. A synthesis, perhaps, but not each individually.
There's a report in Science regarding this in extant big cats. I haven't had
time so far to go to the library at the local university and take a closer
look. But here's a (freely) translated report which appeared in the science
section of Süddeutsche Zeitung dated 04/03/2001.
If you've got these problems of determing relationships with extant species,
how much more does this apply for extinct species where you can do only a
Heinz Peter Bredow
Süddeutsche Zeitung, 04/03/2001
Zoologists use anal secretions of cats
Not only cats find out something about other members of their species when
sniffing scents of their anal glands. Scientists are also able to infer
relationships between big cats from these signal substances (Science, no.
291, p. 1861, 2001).
Up to now an analysis of characters of body and genetic makeup of puma and
cheetah, lion and tiger didn't allow it to reliably determine their
Therefore scientists recently studied the composition of scents of anal
glands which are used by members of one species for e.g. signaling their
By comparing the chemical cocktail of sixteen big cats they quickly found out
how the species are related. They hope to be finally able to determine the
position of the american puma and the african cheetah in the phylogenetic