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Re: FW: Dracorex's phylogenetic position examined with science

On Thu, 22 Jun 2006 14:03:22 -0500 Tim Williams
<twilliams_alpha@hotmail.com> writes:

> My first thought when I read the paper was 
> "Yes, you 
> could be right - a cladistic analysis might not tell us anything 
> useful.  
> But what would be the harm in doing one anyway?"

But what is the harm in leaving a cladistic analysis *out* of this paper?

Let those who "do" cladistics as their specialty write their papers.  But
those who want to opt out of such a pursuit should be allowed to get into
print too.

Only those papers that address evolutionary relationships as their *main*
thesis should be  required to do cladistic analyses. 
Taxonomists/ontologists/histologists/biostratigraphers should be allowed
to opt out of doing a cladistic analysis if they want to.

Just because a paleontologist has a copy of PAUP or MACCLADE loaded onto
their computer's hard drive doesn't necessarily mean that he/she knows
enough to write a paper on the subject.

This is not an indictment of cladistics.  I personally think cladistics
is a *revolutionary* step forward in paleontology.  Cladistic theory is
one of the major achievements in paleontology in the last century.  But
my comment *is* an indictment of "cladogram inflation" caused by
unnecessary publication of character matrices of poorly known taxa.