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Re: The iguanodont paper



On Dec 8, 2007 4:30 PM, evelyn sobielski <koreke77@yahoo.de> wrote:
>
> I would go as far as to say that from the point of
> evolutionary ecology, *most* paraphyletic groups are
> interesting.

I guarantee that for every interesting paraphyletic group you can
think of, I can name a dozen uninteresting ones. Here's five for
starters:
- non-zorapteran bilaterians
- non-zorapteran, non-canine opisthokonts
- non-zorapteran, non-canine, non-testudine eumetazoans
- non-dinosaurian eukaryotes
- all eutherians except for Marilyn Monroe

> Phylogeny is not really important there,
> just as for a hawk it's not really important what its
> prey is related to, only that it has the right size.

I disagree. Broccoli is the right size.
(Of course phylogeny isn't the only important factor here, but it is
*a* factor -- at least indirectly.)

> Phylogenetic information cannot be entirely dismissed
> in almost all cases, and in some it does provide
> fascinating insight. For example the ability to deal
> with (break down and/or sequester) Fabaceae toxins is
> autapomorphic in Lepidoptera and has evolved quite
> often (at species-level resolution).

Wouldn't evolving quite often prevent it from being autapomorphic?

> But among
> Noctuidae (the largest family among the butterfly and
> "true" moth clade Macrolepidoptera IIRC) it seems a
> plesiomorphy.

Interesting.

> A nice way to explain the problem of nonmonophyletic
> taxa to laypeople by reductio ad absurdum: consider a
> taxon "Caerulommatanimalia" - "animals with blue
> eyes". Kudos to Stefan Obenauer at Cologne Zoo for
> that one.

Hehe!

> There is also some apocryphal Medieval Chinese(?)
> classification with hilarious taxa - I think some
> Spanish or French writer/philosopher lists it. If you
> have ever seen it, you ought to know what I mean. Does
> anyone have the details?

Andreas Johansson posted the link. The writer, Jorge Luis Borges, was
Argentinian. Like much of the literature he wrote about, it is
completely (and amusingly) invented.

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