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was Lu and Ji 2006/paedomorphic salamanders

While every study sheds light on the sticky subject of evolution, think about what salamanders do when they go paedomorphic.

They become little rhipidistians or basal tetrapods (really the same thing, right?), without the scales. That's about as basic and pleisomorphic as you can go. No wonder they all converge!

Whether you want to call tiny pterosaurs tiny adults or tiny babies, it doesn't matter to me what your religion is. The fact of the matter is, when tiny pteros are included in a matrix relationships between sister taxa become clarified, changes between sister taxa take on a spectral blend and you get a single tree with crazy derived forms at the tips of bushy branches and the metaphorical 'plain brown sparrows' forming the backbone of the chain. Sharp beaks go with sharp beaks. Horizontal teeth go with horizontal teeth. Small pectoral complexes go with... well, you get the picture.

Surprising what can happen when you just let it happen without a priori assumptions.

David Peters
St. Louis