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Re: Fieldwork or bust? (Was: Stenopelix valdensis)

On Wed, 12 Jul 2006 19:23:38 +0000 Michael Mortimer
<mickey_mortimer111@msn.com> writes:

> How important is it to read the primary literature 
> on 
> phylogenetic theory and to keep up with the phylogenetic work on 
> other 
> organisms?  Or to have extensive hands-on experience with PAUP or 
> MacClade?

All paleontologists and biologists (even biologists who aren't
paleontologists) need to be fully conversant in phylogenetic theory and
cladistic methods.  Older workers who were never exposed to these
concepts when they were students should take a couple courses (or three)
on the subjects, in order to catch up with the young turks.

OTOH, not everyone who learns and becomes conversant in PAUP or MacClade
wants to specialize in the subject.  There are a lot of paleontologists
who have PAUP on their hard drives, but the program has never been run in
10 years.

Even infidels like us geologists sometimes have a copy of the program.  I
have a quite old version of PAUP on my computer, and I know just enough
about the operation of the program to be dangerous with it!

If I ever submit a manuscript on the subject of phylogeny of all known
Neoaves, I'd advise my reviewers to immediately put down the manuscript,
yell, run to a safe place, and immediately tell a police officer or an

I'm also the bane of all who honor and cherish Linnaean etiquette.  Years
ago, I once suggested that a new crinoid from Indiana be named
_Hoosierdaddy_ gen. nov.  The author liked the proposed name and put it
in the manuscript, but it was finally nuked by his reviewers and the
editor.  I don't think the name is preoccupied and therefore it is
probably still available (hint hint).