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RE: Cladistics algorithm?

However, the topic you are discussing is one of computer science and/or
computational phylogenetics, and not dinosaur science per se.  You should
seek out the various systematic discussion groups or computational science
groups for those details.

Is this true? I know this list is volatile, and that cladistic/anti-cladistic/partially-cladistic/my-version-of-cladistic threads start up as soon as you look at them, but cladistics has had such an impact of dinosaurian phylogenetics and, hopefully, will continue to do so, that surely asking what the programs actually _do_ is fair game? Is it likely anyone is going to initiate an in-depth discussion on ACCTRAN/DELTRAN optimisations, Dollo, Wagner or Fitch parsimony or Farris' Parsimony Jacknife? Goloboff's Ratchet implimentations? I hope not, because there are other lists better suited (and less interesting). But surely someone asking what fundamental cladistic algorithms actually _do_ is worthy of a reply and some pointers?

'Cos if not it just looks more and more like a black box, doesn't it?

Just my 2¤  's


Rich Grenyer

Mammalian Evolution and Conservation
Biology Department
Imperial College at Silwood Park

Telephone: +00 44 (0)20 7594 2328
Fax:            +00 44 (0)20 7594 2339
email: r.grenyer@ic.ac.uk