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PAUP and pteros



Not wanting to beat a dead horse here, but a few weeks ago I sent one of
my harshest DML critics my matrix regarding protorosars including
pterosaurs.

Here's what he/she said in conclusion:

>> Originally I planned to run your matrix without the problematic
characters
and the obvious babies through PAUP*... but it turns out that this would
be
a huge amount of work. It's better if you do this.>>

In my experience, running PAUP is as easy as pressing a button. Putting
PAUP through partition analysis (removing obvious babies or problematic
characters) is a matter of deleting a number of taxa, in other words,
pressing another mouse button over a menu selection.

Not a lot of work.

To that critic: you blinked.

I hope you weren't afraid of what you might find.

If so, I'll tell you. If you remove the obvious babies you get more of a
ladder and less of a bush. In other words the Pterodactyloidea reemerges
as a clade. Now if you want to do this, be my guest. You have history,
literature, and all the experts to back you up.

But then what do you do with all those tiny taxa? You can ignore them.
But someday some grad student is going to wonder what would happen if
you plugged them in.

That's all I did. The rest is prehistory.

I think it's important to send your work to your harshest critics. That
way you'll know you'll get a good "punch a fist in your face" [to quote
my critic again] if they find something amiss. One other critic, no
longer on the DML, said he trashed the matrix as soon as he got it.

This is what I'm dealing with.

David Peters
St. Louis