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Phylogeny and Distance

Ken Kinman <kinman@hotmail.com> wrote:

<I am certainly no devotee to the "science" of the Tonight Show
or any other mass media outlet. But on the other hand, there is
more to "relatedness" than just strict phyletic relatedness, and
I'm a little shocked that you would say evolutionary rates are
irrelevant. I think that they are very relevant...>

  Phylogeny on its face is the arrangement of organisms in an
assumption of relationship. To quote from my Webster's Student
[okay, it's not the Oxford, I don't actually _own_ one of those

  _relation_ = "... 6. [pl.] the connections between or among
persons, nations, etc."

  It is in this sense that relationship is utilized. It implies
the connections, not the distance, between something. Becuase
this is implicit in making a phylogenetic statement, I don't
think this is nitpicking either.

  Phyletic distant in an assumption of relationship is
irrelevent, pertinent in the sense of time when inferring
relationship. The number of modifications an organism goes
through is its own business and doesn't overturn the statement
or assumption that this organism is any more closer to an animal
that lacks these modifications than to another. This said,
paleognaths and neognaths have the same amount of basic shared
differences in their ontogeny at least that demonstrate neighter
is closer to the base of Aves than the other. Some morphological
studies and a few less molecular studies have supported the
paraphyly of Paleognathae throughout Neognathae. This requires
examinations. Neornithes and Ichthyornithiformes [Carinatae]
have the same shared basic morphology and thus neighter is
closer to the base of Aves than the other. And so on down the

  Neotenic modification can be shared by unrelated organisms,
requiring rigorous second glances ... and third, and fourth....
For example [e.g.], *Bagaraatan* and *Allosaurus* share a
neomorph bone, the antarticular [on the medial and dorsal side
of the articular bone, near the surangular and prearticular,
medial to the articular socket], but this appears not to
correspond with phylogeny. The bone may persist as cartilage in
intermediate forms, but there's no real way to test this.
*Bagaraatan* and *Allosaurus* are distant from each other in a
phyletic sense: analyses published, or not, as in Mickey
Mortimer's statements online, have suggested this form is a
coelurosaur at least, and possibly maniraptoriform to
maniraptoran. Big distance from carnosaurs like *Allosaurus*.
Unresolved placement ... gotta love those critters you couldn't
shoehorn if you were Atlas.

Jaime A. Headden

  Where the Wind Comes Sweeping Down the Pampas!!!!

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