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> what think about of this link?
Pretty interesting, among other things because it leads to a page
http://palaeo.gly.bris.ac.uk/dinosaur/supertree.html where the authors
show that they know full well that some claims about the usefulness of
supertrees are incorrect. Many thanks, Nico!
"Is there any point in making big trees?
Supertrees are a key new way to summarise huge amounts of information and
to give us a picture of current opinion - a kind of Domesday book. The
methods are not just used to sort out dinosaurs, but any other groups of
plants, animals or microbes. It's all part of the 'Tree of Life'
programme, a large international effort to document all species alive and
dead, and to find the one great evolutionary tree that links them all
"'Tree of Life'" is a link to http://tolweb.org/tree/phylogeny.html.
"Does it show us anything new about dinosaurs?
No. Supertree methods are unlikely to come up with anything new since they
are meant to summarise current knowledge."
But then ("resolve" in italics)...
"The supertree does resolve problems, and it will pick out the
best-supported solution out of a number that may be available. So it can
help settle arguments.
What kind of arguments?
Well, for example, there is a running debate about the place of birds in
the scheme of things. Our supertree shows once and for all (as if there
was still any doubt) that birds are dinosaurus" (sic) -- actually, it
doesn't even do that, because no tree with "avimorph thecodonts", crocs
etc. etc. was included.
Not that there was any doubt. :-)
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- From: "Nico" <firstname.lastname@example.org>